It was the 15th over where the game changed. The Royal Challengers Bangalore were going along very nicely with their two best batsmen at the crease and the score reading 121/2 after the 14th over, before Dinesh Karthik the Kolkata Knight Riders made a lucky masterstroke and brought on Nitish Rana to bowl.
In that 15th over, Nitish Rana bowling his innocuous looking off spinners went for a six off the first ball and everyone thought that the over could go really big. Something inexplicable happened next ball, as AB Devillers made a rare error and mistimed Rana's ball getting caught at long on. Ranain the very next ball dismissed Kohli. This over by Rana turned out to be the game-changing over of the match as RCB who were looking good to get 200 with AB and Virat in, finished a long way off the mark at 176.
Talking about his impactful over, Nitish stated, “I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I saw Piyush (Chawla) and Sunil Narine bowling from that end (Club House End) and found that the ball was gripping. So I knew if I hit the right areas, I thought could get rewards. At that stage, it was important to get them out"
Nitish later cleared that it was the bowling in the nets that gave his captain Dinesh Kartik the confidence to think of him as the fill-up bowler for expensive Vinay Kumar on the day. He said, “I do bowl at the domestic level in Delhi. Here too, I bowled in a practice game and did well. That’s when Dinesh told me to be ready. I was backing myself and got lucky,”
Nitish's over helped KKR to be in a position where one great innings like Sunil Narine's was good enough to seal the game, as KKR got the chase over with seven balls to spare. Karthik and Rana played responsibly as KKR won their first game of the season.
Rana, the left-hand middle-order batsman, also scored a vital 30 in the chase. Talking about his main role, he finished off saying, “I can bat anywhere and am okay with the pressure of living up to expectation. Actually, a little pressure helps your batting,”
(Inputs from Hindustan Times)