Aaron Finch loves the way Pat Cummins bats in the IPL. They even call him “IPL Pat” for that in Australia. But the Kolkata Knight Riders will perhaps need Cummins, the bowler, more when they take on Gujarat Titans at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
Burdened with three back-to-back defeats, the Knights have mainly struggled because of their misfiring bowlers. Cummins has leaked runs, Varun Chakravarthy has leaked runs, and even Umesh Yadav, who started this year’s campaign as one of the best Powerplay bowlers, has also started to leak runs. It is only Sunil Narine who has been standing tall as a lighthouse with his miserly bowling, trying to help his colleagues who seem to have lost their way.
As a result, Shreyas Iyer’s Knights, who looked promising and balanced in the opening few matches of IPL 2022, have lost more than they have won in the seven games they have played so far.
The job on Saturday will not let them breathe easy because the Titans have been one of the best teams of this IPL. They have won five of their six matches with someone or the other turning out to be the match-winner.
The Titans will hope that captain Hardik Pandya is match-fit on Saturday. He missed the last game with a groin strain and Rashid Khan led the team in his absence.
If Hardik plays, Rashid can concentrate on his role as the lead spinner of his team. In fact, the game may very well turn out to be a duel between two great spinners of the T20 format — Rashid vs Narine.
Despite the setbacks in the last few games, Australian Finch, who will open the innings for the Knights on Saturday, thinks the team’s aggressive brand of cricket has served them well. Speaking on the eve of the match, Finch said: “I love that (aggressive) style of cricket because on those days when it doesn’t happen for you, all it takes is one person to change the game. So when they turn up against KKR, (they) are fearful because they know they are going to come out attacking all the time.
“That automatically puts them on the backfoot a bit also. So it’s a super way to play I think,” he added.