IPL 2020: KKR body blow – Few IPL teams bounce back after such a low

Will Kolkata Knight Riders recover from Wednesday’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore? Or will the shock of posting the lowest total of the season will be too much to recover from?

Trends in IPL show most teams struggle to recover after an abysmal show like what KKR dished out against RCB. The Eoin Morgan-led side scored just 84, after being reduced to 14/4 in the first four overs. It was the lowest total for a team that wasn’t bowled out in tournament history. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)

Since 2017, teams have been bowled out for less than 100 on 11 occasions and have mostly found it too hard to comeback from such a low.

Who knows it better than RCB, who were shot out for 49—lowest IPL total—chasing KKR’s 131 in 2017. Six days later, they were restricted to 96/9 chasing Rising Pune Supergiant’s 157. Their form before the all-time low score wasn’t great. Having won just two of six, they plummeted further, losing six of the last eight matches.

Last season RCB were shot out for 70—joint-fifth lowest total ever—in the tournament opener by CSK. They never recovered, losing the first six matches. In both editions they finished at the bottom.

This edition, RCB are on a roll and sit second in the standings, behind Delhi Capitals. So, what changed for RCB? Skipper Virat Kohli put it down to planning.

KKR coach Brendon McCullum felt the team was too tame. “If anything, we were just a little timid in our approach. That’s a bit frustrating because we spoke at length before the game about trying to be positive and show some strong intent,” McCullum said in Wednesday’s press conference.

KKR’s destiny is in their hands. They were fourth in the standings, two points ahead of Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals with four matches to play before Thursday’s game. They just have to make sure they take more points than those below.

The question is will they recover and show courage to make it to the play-offs?

In 2018, Mumbai Indians entered the competition high on confidence but the defending champions were knocked off their perch. They lost four of the first five matches. Then came the sucker punch as they were bowled out for 87—their joint-lowest total in IPL—chasing 113 set by Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium. They won five of their nine matches thereafter but could never regain momentum, eventually ending up fifth in the table to be eliminated.

The same season KXIP were off to a flier, winning five of their first six games. The wheels came off after that as they lost seven of the next eight games. They were dismissed for 88—their second joint-lowest total—by RCB in their 12th match of the season. Thanks to the early season form, they still had an opportunity to make it to the play-offs but lost the last two matches to go out.

A year earlier, KXIP had to win their last group match to be sure of a play-off spot. They were bowled out for 73—their lowest IPL total—batting first to squander the opportunity.

KKR can take inspiration from Sunrisers Hyderabad, who made it to the knockouts in 2017 despite a patchy run. After winning three of their first four matches, they were skittled for 96 by MI chasing 136. They lost six of the last 10 from there but squeezed into the play-offs due to a better net run rate than KKR and KXIP. They lost to Delhi Capitals in the eliminator.

Many feel changing the captain midway wasn’t a good idea. The team had won four out of seven under Dinesh Karthik before Eion Morgan was given the charge. Since then they have won one of three games.

IPL history shows changing captain midway doesn’t really work. It was done on seven previous occasions. Only Rohit Sharma—he took over from Ricky Ponting in 2013—emerged successful. He took Mumbai Indians to victory in 10 of their last 13 matches, delivering their maiden IPL title.


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