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Talking Points - how Virat Kohli went from scratchy to sensational

Virat Kohli unleashes a straight drive BCCI

A control percentage of less than 60 is not what you expect from Virat Kohli.

But, for the first 17 balls of his innings against Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday at Eden Gardens, he found it hard to middle the ball and was in control for only 59% of the balls he faced.

He survived a big lbw shout against Sunil Narine, was beaten on the outside edge, and inside-edged one to square leg too. Even his first two boundaries came thanks to a misfield and a thick leading edge.

But Kohli survived that phase and began to find his timing in the middle overs. His strike rate and control percentage both shot up, and after Moeen Ali was dismissed for a fantastic 66 off 28 balls, Kohli took control, striking at nearly 300 in the final four overs of the innings.

Did Knight Riders get their plan against Moeen wrong?

Knight Riders bowled 23 balls of spin to Moeen Ali his 28-ball 60, and Moeen struck at 260.87 in those.

So was it a mistake to attack Moeen chiefly with spin? Numbers actually show that in the IPL, Moeen had done better against pace - strike rate of 175.67 before this game - than spin, where he scored at 130.00 before this game. The plan was sound, the execution was not. Or, perhaps, Moeen has just worked his game out.

Off his 60 runs against spin, 45 came against Kuldeep Yadav. Again, there was not much data for Knight Riders to go on as Moeen had not faced a left-arm wristspinner in the IPL before. Is that what made the difference?

Kuldeep taken to the cleaners

His last over on the night went for 27 runs, leaving Kuldeep absolutely inconsolable. For the record, it was the fifth-most expensive over this year - at top (or bottom) place are Dwayne Bravo (v Chennai Super Kings) and Tim Southee (v Kolkata Knight Riders) with 29, followed by, on 28, Alzarri Joseph (v Rajasthan Royals) and Jaydev Unadkat (v Chennai Super Kings).

143: Kohli & Co break mark for most runs in last ten overs this season

The previous record stood at 133, which Mumbai Indians scored against Kings XI Punjab in Mumbai just over a week ago. On Friday, at Eden Gardens, Royal Challengers added 143, going from 70 for 2 after ten overs to 213 for 4 after 20. It's also the sixth-highest tally for the last ten overs ever in the IPL.

Knight Riders' new opening plan

Before this game, Narine hadn't opened the bowling at all this season, with Kolkata Knight Riders preferring Piyush Chawla to deliver spin with the new ball. Chawla had opened the bowling four times, and while he didn't pick up a Powerplay wicket, he conceded wuns at just 7.12 in the first six.

So why change strategy and give Narine the second over against Royal Challengers Bangalore?

What may have made Knight Riders opt for a switch was his record against Royal Challengers' openers for the game, Parthiv Patel and Kohli.

Before the start of the match, Parthiv had a strike rate of 96.2 against Narine in all IPLs, and Kohli 96.3. Chawla had gone at more than a run a ball against both. The move worked for Knight Riders as Narine picked up the wicket of Parthiv and went for just 13 runs in his first two overs.

The Russell and Rana show

When Andre Russell walked in to bat, Knight Riders were 79 for 4, with 11.5 overs bowled and the target of 214 looking very, very far away. At the opposite side was Nitish Rana, on 31 from 22 balls.

On ESPNcricinfo's Forecaster, Knight Riders' win probability was 1.64%.

In the next over, bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal, Rana and Russell added 13 runs.

Over No. 14, bowled by Navdeep Saini, fetched just seven runs.

Chahal came back in the 15th, and Russell broke loose, slamming sixes in each of the last three balls in a 20-run over. The target came down to 93 off 30 balls. Although 'down' might be misnomer with still more than three runs per ball required. But Russell was Hulking up.

Saini's next over went for 17 runs, and it was 76 needed from 24. Sometime during the 17th over, bowled by Mohammed Siraj, Russell and Rana took the win probability up to 3.56% - the best it ever got during the steep, and eventually unsuccessful, chase.

Dale Steyn's final over - the 18th - went for 18 runs, and the next, bowled by Marcus Stoinis, tallied 19 more. In the end, it was down to 24 needed off the last six balls. Moeen Ali bowled the last over, his first of the innings, and conceded 13, also sending back Russell. Job done.

But that 118-run stand in eight overs - it was exhilarating stuff. On another day, it would have earned Russell and Rana a win. On Friday, though, with their top and middle order setting them back, their team went down by ten runs.

With inputs from Bharath Seervi and Shamya Dasgupta