Jacques Kallis is a walker. Long before umpire Anil Chaudhary’s finger went up, Kallis had folded his bat under his arm and begun his sideways headshake. Caught behind in Shane Watson’s very first over on Tuesday, the South African was gone for one in a tight chase. But just as he drifted past a celebrating Rajasthan Royals huddle, the KKR batsman was asked by the umpire to hold on to his walking.
A front-foot no ball had ensured that the walker would now walk back to his batting crease. And everything would go back to just the way it was before.
This would be the story of the innings and the match. Just when Rajasthan Royals looked to be running away with the defence of their total of 152, KKR were called back into it. And just when the Kolkata side seemed to have honed in on their target thanks to the improvisations of Shakib Al Hasan and Suryakumar Yadav, Rajasthan’s James Faulkner struck three times in the penultimate over to ensure that no one was going to walk away from the Abu Dhabi Stadium early. The match had gone into a Super Over.
Even that would end on a ‘tie’, but more on that later.
CHANCES NOT TAKEN
Back to the Kallis moment in regular time. Early in their tricky chase of 153, this was just the reprieve that the Kolkata Knight Riders — a team firmly wedged in the season seven’s mid-table — needed. Kallis was perhaps told that during the mid-pitch meeting that followed with his batting partner, Gautam Gambhir. At this point, half way through the fifth over of the chase, KKR captain Gambhir was batting on 24 – 23 runs more than he had made than in his previous four innings put together. For Gambhir, getting off binary digits and on to a start, coupled with Kallis’s recall at the other end, were signs of things to come.
All the pair had to do, now, was make full use of their respective getaways.
Only, Kallis was dismissed shortly after, for 13 in the ninth over. Then, a few overs later, Gambhir departed for a slugglish, run-a-ball 44. And this was the story of KKR’s innings. Just when luck took an upswing for the 2012 champions, they managed to botch it up. This trend held through right through the course of the innings, so much so that even when continued…