Kolkata Knight Riders will take on MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi today. While Chennai is coming after win against KXIP and has got its momentum, there are few big concerns for Kolkata Knight Riders. The defeat against Delhi Capitals in Sharjah clearly indicated the lack of proactive captaincy and taking right call at the right time by the captain and the management. However it’s new day, will KKR be able to rectify it’s mistake and come back strong ?
Kolkata Knight Riders are one of those few teams which rises up on the big occasion. Currently the team is at number 4 position in the points table with 2 wins and 2 losses, but that’s not a big thing as it is the initial phase of the tournament, their will be a big turnaround in the points table by the team we reach the playoffs. However the concern is failing batting order in the team.
KKR not giving value to Sunil Narine’s wicket:
A wicket is a wicket no matter who the batsman is. Sunil Narine has been an exceptional opener for Kolkata Knight Riders in all these years but his recent form is a sign of worry for the captain. His ability to hit the ball out of park came into Gautam Gambhir’s notice, and Gautam started using him as Finch hitter in the poweplay. With passing time Sunil transformed into a full time opener, his quick scoring in the first 6 overs powerplay helped the team to get a good start.
In 2020, Narine scored 27 runs in 4 matches averaging 6.75 at a strike rate of 87.09. Sunil has defined the role given to him for so many years, but now time has changed so is cricket. Sunil cannot find answers of the lethal bouncers being bowled to him. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Kagiso Rabada, James Pattinson have clearly showed the world the weakness of Sunil Narine. As soon as the opener is on the crease the bowlers start bowling deadly bouncers. The continuous failure of Sunil Narine has raised a lot of criticism.
Rahul Tripathi showed a glimpse of his class in the previous match against Delhi Capitals. Rahul’s quick knock of 36 (16) helped the team to reach close to the total. Moreover the question is, isn’t the domestic opener being underutilized as he is coming into the crease, when the match is already over or the run rate is too much high.
Sunil’s performance with ball can also be questioned. No doubt, he is still a dependable spinner, but his ability to take early wickets has been lost somewhere. In 4 matches, Sunil has conceded 119 runs taking 2 wickets. Can KKR bring in Tom Bantom who was on an extraordinary form against Pakistan or will stick to Sunil Narine for this match as CSK lacks expressway fast bowlers ?
Dinesh Kartik’s batting number:
The KKR management mentioned that they want to be fluid but over experiment in batting numbers can cost a tournament. In all the matches we have seen Dinesh Kartik batting at different positions. In the first match against Mumbai Indians Kartik batted at number 3. In the match against SRH, the captain batted at number 4, against Rajasthan Royals batted at 5 and in the game against DC at 5.
The shifting of batting numbers is a worry, in this case it’s lot bigger because it’s the captain. Dinesh Kartik on his day can snatch away the match from the opponent at any given point. Dinesh Kartik has a big responsibility as their are quite a few match winners including the likes of Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan. To make this team play into its full potential, the captain needs to define the role of its players by giving them proper position to bat in.
Eoin Morgan & Andre Russell
The success of Kolkata Knight Riders depends on the form of this two players. In IPL 2019 we witnessed the Russel power, the Jamaican all rounder would come into bat and send ball out of the park. His knocks helped the team to win many matches, but a single man is not enough. This time in the auction table KKR picked England captain Eoin Morgan, surely the best choice.
But Eoin can only make his team win matches, when he is provided with a proper batting position and opportunity. Eoin Morgan bats at number 4 for England national team, so no way you can send him at number 6. His ability to build the innings and later finishing it off in style has made him one of the best white ball cricketer. Eoin batting at number 4 can work wonders for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Why not send Eoin at number 4 to build the innings, Kartik at number 5 and Andre Russell as a finisher at number 6. The batting order can sometimes be tweaked according to situation but not always. Rather than making Russell bat at no 4, make Eoin Morgan bat at that position.
However there are few positives for Kolkata Knight Riders. The young guns, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Shubhman Gill, Varun Chakraborty are giving consistent performance. It would be interesting to see how Kolkata’s heroes take on the Chennai’s Annas.