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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Indian Premier League: Optimistic Kolkata Knight Riders regroup on home turf

What came as a huge relief for KKR was the presence of batter Nitish Rana and pacer Harshit Rana at practice

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 13.04.24, 08:40 AM
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer at practice at Eden Gardens on Friday. The Knights play LSG on Sunday.

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer at practice at Eden Gardens on Friday. The Knights play LSG on Sunday. The Telegraph

Three days after their last IPL match against Chennai Super Kings at the Chepauk, Kolkata Knight Riders players got down to practice at Eden Gardens on Friday afternoon. The Knights will play five matches at home on the trot.

What came as a huge relief for KKR was the presence of batter Nitish Rana and pacer Harshit Rana at practice.

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Nitish, who led KKR in the absence of Shreyas Iyer last season, was present at practice on Friday but will not be available for selection against Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday. He is still nursing the finger injury that has kept him out of action since the opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Eden Gardens.

Harshit, who bowled the decisive final over against the Sunrisers at the Eden, however, could play Sunday’s match. A shoulder injury had kept him out of the last game.

Mentor Gautam Gambhir had taken special care of both injured players with motivational sessions to keep them in the right spirits.

The Knights have won three of their four matches this season since Gambhir joi­ned the management.

There was a spring in their step as the players looked forward to putting behind the disappointment of the CSK match and looked forward to the forthcoming matches with optimism.

Batting had let the team down in Chennai and KKR will take some comfort from playing at their home ground against the Super Giants. A lot will again depend on the opening pair of Sunil Narine and Phil Salt.

Narine has been in terrific form, providing the side with good starts. Even in Chennai, Narine made 27 off 20 balls after Salt’s departure on the first ball of the match. That knock couldn’t provide the much-needed momentum though as the remaining batters fumbled against a disciplined CSK attack.

Among the bowlers, Mitchell Starc was seen going flat out during nets. The Australian fast bowler picked up his first wicket of the season against CSK though his economy rate has been the most expensive among the regular bowlers in the team at 11.00.

Left-arm orthodox Anukul Roy has been the most economical in his two matches, at 6.54. He came into the XI as an Impact Sub in both games.

Gambhir took time off in the morning to visit Kalighat on Friday following the players’ visit a day earlier. In the previous edition too, ahead of their clash against RCB, then captain Nitish and coach Chandrakant Pandit went to the temple to seek blessings.

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