The clash between Perth Scorchers and Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday was not completely one-sided, but it wouldn't be wrong to say that Kolkata got the better of Perth for most part, and in the end, their victory wasn't surprising. On paper, Kolkata were the stronger of the two sides, and hence it wasn't surprising that they could recover from a precarious position, and went to win the match with ease in the end. The victory secured Kolkata a place in the semi-finals, and the performance reiterated that they are among the favourites to clinch the trophy, as they have men to perform versatile tasks.
Aussies have never been great players of spin, and Perth's weakness was exposed again against spin, even in the T20 format. The fact that spinners took all seven wickets to fall in the Perth innings says a lot about the batsmen's struggles. Sunil Narine, once again was unplayable. It is amazing that having played so many games, and with so much video evidence available, players still not been able to figure out how to deal with his carrom ball. Kuldeep Yadav was equally impressive with his chinaman bowling. In fact, it was his three wicket-spell during the first half of the innings that put Perth on the back foot.
While the bowling was excellent, KKR's batting was equally disappointing. The fact that they were chasing a small target perhaps made them overconfident. The kind of shots the batsmen played was indicative of the same. From Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa to Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey, all fell to pressure-less dismissals. This eventually put a lot of pressure on the lower order. This is where Suryakumar Yadav was so impressive. He chose his deliveries smartly, and it was only because of his lusty hitting towards the end that Kolkata got home.
Kolkata may have progressed to the semis, but even in the victory there was a stern lesson for the IPL 2014 champions. They cannot afford to get complacent for a Suryakumar Yadav cannot rescue them in each game. The experienced batters like Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey need to chip in. Plus, KKR shouldn't get heavily dependent on Narine and Yadav, which is the case as of yet. In case one of the two have a poor game, the opponent can put the bowling under severe pressure. KKR have been highly impressive, having won 12 games in a row now, and must be careful not to stumble as the business end gets closer.
As for Perth, it is their batting which surely cost them against KKR. Their skipper Adam Voges had stressed on the fact that the batsmen must try to rotate the strike as much as possible against the spinners. However, while Voges practiced what he preached, the rest did not follow his path, and panicked under the circumstances. As for Voges, he deserves praise for an an excellent knock. He was the only one who showed the aptitude to stand up to Narine and Yadav. In fact, if it wasn't for him, Perth would have struggled further. His wonderful knock wasn't enough though as the others in the team let him down.
--By A Cricket Analyst