The mood in the Kolkata Knight Riders camp was sombre during the mid-innings break after they had posted only 131 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The team, however, was in no mood to give up without a fight. Captain Gautam Gambhir wanted intensity from his men, and the fast bowlers set the tone for it. They picked up all the 10 wickets of the opposition inside as many overs, with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme accounting for nine of those.
After Royal Challengers Bangalore were sent crashing to 49 all out at the Eden Gardens, Woakes called it an "unbelievable" win not least because Knight Riders knew they had a below-par total. "The heads were down in the dressing room at half-time," Woakes told iplt20.com. "But, we came out and we had a chat and we said it was time to show some pride and fight. The captain wanted some intensity and the two opening bowlers did that. The rest of us backed it up from there on. I suppose until you go out there and don't pick wickets, you don't believe you can do it. Once we started getting wickets, all of a sudden you had belief."
It was Coulter-Nile who had triggered the collapse by dismissing Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in his first two overs before claiming Kedar Jadhav's wicket in his third. Woakes said he could tell Coulter-Nile was in good rhythm from the way he was bowling. "It was a great opening spell of T20 bowling. He was hitting the pitch pretty hard and moving the ball well," Coulter-Nile said. "Getting Virat Kohli first ball showed you his confidence. From then on, I suppose you just try and put the ball in your right areas and hope for the wickets to come."
Coulter-Nile, though, was more subdued in his assessment of his performance. "I would have taken any three wickets as long as I was taking wickets," he said. "All the boys did that throughout the game and it doesn't really matter who it is. I don't have numbers or names in my head, but yes, pretty good players to have in the bag." Woakes himself snared a big wicket in the form of Chris Gayle with a bit of help from Coulter-Nile, who held on to a skier. Woakes joked that while he was sure that Coulter-Nile would complete the catch, the latter's heart would have been pounding.
"When I saw Nathan under the ball, I knew he would take it. He has a safe pair of hands and I knew 99% he was going to take it," Woakes said. "It was obviously a big wicket. But I felt AB de Villiers's wicket was a huge one too because he came and struck a couple of boundaries early on. Getting the big three was huge, but we had to get all ten to win the game. All ten were just as important."
While Woakes felt the pitch was seamer-friendly with good pace and carry on offer, Coulter-Nile said the margin for error for bowlers was very less. "It was a tough wicket to bowl actually," Coulter-Nile said. "If you went a little bit off, you got punished. I went for 41 the last time against Gujarat Lions. You just got to be right on the money. Sometimes you go for runs and sometimes you got the wickets. It was fun to play there."
Colin de Grandhomme
Kolkata Knight Riders
Royal Challengers Bangalore
KKR vs RCB