ten Doeschate

Bowlers should find a solution, says ten Doeschate, who is sympathetic. “No point crying about it.”

On Friday, April 26, at Eden Gardens, history was created as Punjab Kings delivered the greatest T20 chase in history, defeating Kolkata Knight Riders’ 261 total with eight balls remaining in a match that saw unbelievable amounts of six-hitting on both sides.

Bowlers have been under pressure more than ever because of the season’s abundance of big scores, which have already included six totals of 250 or more. Assistant coach Ryan ten Doeschate of KKR also believed that taking on the task head-on is the best approach to get out of the woods, especially on an evening when his bowlers had a rude awakening.

At the news conference following the game, ten Doeschate stated, “I don’t think it augurs well for the contest between bat and ball, but the facts are that it is here for the season.”

There are two perspectives on it. You might take a step back and say, “Oh, it’s unfair, we are just bowling machines,” or you could take a more optimistic stance and say, “We’re going to find a way, we’re going to be different from other teams,” “We’re going to try new things,” or “We’re going to embrace the challenge.” Yes, it will be difficult, but you have to come up with creative and novel solutions for the next four weeks at the very least. This season won’t last that long, so there’s no need whining. I feel bad for the bowlers since things are suddenly going more in their favour, even if the odds were previously in the batter’s favour. However, they are the reality and the facts. I would find a way to get back at the hitters in order to deal with this.”

The 270-run barrier has already been broken three times in the 2024 IPL season; KKR themselves did it once, while SRH also broke the 285-run barrier in their match against RCB. In these conditions, KKR’s 261 may have seemed a little lower, but ten wickets silenced any criticism on the need for additional runs on a very fine batting pitch. With Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer, and Andre Russell making brief appearances, Sunil Narine and Phil Salt set the tone for Knight Riders’ nearly flawless batting effort. Though that would be nitpicking, KKR may have gone over 275 in retrospect.

“What constitutes a good score? 260 must be a respectable score. We continued to score goals. The main thing that went right for us tonight was certainly that Salt and Sunil were excellent, and it was good to see the skipper regain some rhythm. I’d like to play with you on this marble piece; 260 runs should be plenty. Aiming too high can be dangerous. If the wicket is this good, we should strive for at least 240.”

Ten Doeschate acknowledged that the T20 cricket game is changing rapidly every day and that there have been some extraordinary changes this IPL season, especially in the batting department. For instance, KKR’s batting PowerPlay produced 76 runs, which is typically a staggering total, but PBKS struck back with an incredible 93 runs in their first six overs at bat. For the record, the previous season’s total number of times the 70-run threshold has been crossed in the PowerPlay is way too high. The Dutch all-rounder, like many other pundits, attributed part of this change to the new IPL regulations.

“The impact player has significantly influenced the players’ approach to scoring. Ten years ago, when you could get past 160 and feel like you’d win the game, the game is virtually completely different. To earn a good score, you now need to reach 160 before the 13th over. The obvious things are as follows; proceed to the death sooner. Close one side. We should have handled things better tonight, in my opinion.

“You nearly want to use your anti-skills to bowl. It’s true that going short and wide drags opponents wide and straight; nevertheless, you have to catch them off guard, like Sam Curran did today with Phil Salt. Launched a shot at the leg stump after setting up the off-side field and dragging him across. You need to think of creative solutions. You must constantly adapt, practically ball by ball. I don’t think you can bowl two balls in the same way, and until the bowlers are really controlling the game, I don’t think you can bowl bowlers back-to-back. The onus is entirely on the hitter, and the bowlers have a genuine challenge to counterattack.”

The thing that was so amazing about Punjab’s assault was that it was accomplished with very little assistance from the dew factor that is often present in the Eden Gardens. Because of this and the short square dimensions and trueness of the surface, it is well known that protecting scores has become challenging here. This is what makes the venue a chasing ground. Even with the recklessness of today’s hitters, KKR finished with a score you’d expect teams to win with. Ten Doeschate insisted that despite putting a massive total on the board, KKR hadn’t taken anything for granted, given the level of high scores being produced by teams everywhere.

“Normally, I would say that there is (a toss advantage), but you almost couldn’t see a team pursuing it if you told us today that we would get 262 tonight. The same goes for us batting first; you have an additional hitter in the shed, so unless something changes, we need to bat aggressively for the entire 20 overs. With the ball, there is a lot of potential; the key is to be bold and take the ball to the hitters rather than standing by and hoping to halt the run streak.

“I don’t believe that complacency existed. If anything, there’s a sense of terror in the way batting is being played throughout the championship. The ball has a lot of potential. The way that batters are batting—not retreating—is a novel phenomena. We’re not the only guys who are dissatisfied in Sunil’s performance; he was great. They have been decent overall, but we need to figure out how to stop hitters from taking away games the way they have throughout the tournament.”