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When dropping Kohli and de Villiers didn't matter

Dropping Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers isn't the best way to go about things if the aim is to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore, but Kolkata Knight Riders did that and then beat them anyway. For the second time this season, they made a mockery of a requirement of 53 off 18 balls - they had done the same against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first game of the season - and the hero on both occasions was Andre Russell.

Two batsmen scored more runs than Russell in this game - Kohli got 84 (off 49) and de Villiers 63 (32) - but the impact of Russell's unbeaten 48 off 13 balls in terms of batting contribution percentage was greater than those of Kohli's and de Villiers'. Batting contribution is calculated by considering two factors:

  • a batsman's Smart Runs, which takes into account the bowling quality, the batsman's strike rate, and the context of the game and the pressure on the batsman when he scored his runs

  • the extra runs he scored off the balls he faced, compared to what the other batsmen in the team would have scored

Russell scored 15 fewer runs than de Villiers, and 36 fewer runs than Kohli, but in the context of the game and the result, it was clear that his runs were far more impactful than those of Kohli or de Villiers.

The drops that didn't matter

When Royal Challengers finished on 205, it seemed that Knight Riders would rue the let-offs given to Kohli and de Villiers. According to ESPNcricinfo's Luck Index, which puts a run value to every lucky event in a match, the two dropped catches together cost Knight Riders 37 runs. Royal Challengers dropped catches too, but in the context of the game they didn't matter as much: Chris Lynn made 40 off 29 after his first-over let-off when Navdeep Saini dropped a tough one, but according to Luck Index, the other Knight Riders batsmen would have compensated had they faced those 29 balls.

In the Royal Challengers' case, it was different. Kohli got dropped in the seventh over when he was on 35 off 21 and went on to add another 47 off 27 balls. De Villiers got lucky with the drop in the 12th over when he was on 11 off 11, after which he added 50 runs from 20 balls. Kohli's drop fetched 12 lucky runs for Royal Challengers while that of de Villiers got them 25 runs.

It seemed those 37 extra runs would cost Knight Riders the match. But with Russell in the team, they needn't have worried about such minor things.

Luck Index is a part of Superstats, a new set of metrics by ESPNcricinfo to tell more enriching and insightful numbers-based stories. To know more about Superstats, click here.