Batting seems to be becoming a major worry for Kolkata Knight Riders. Barring Andre Russell’s fireworks at the death, the ineptitude of their batting line-up came to the fore once again on Thursday.
Delhi Capitals had no reason to complain though, as after winning the toss and restricting the Knight Riders to a modest 154/6, openers Prithvi Shaw (82) and Shikhar Dhawan (46) got their side off to a blazing start that eventually led them to a comfortable seven-wicket win at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad.
Thanks to this thumping win with 21 balls to spare, the Capitals, with 10 points, have moved up to No.2 in the standings on the basis of a better net run-rate than Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The KKR batters just couldn’t get going after being put into bat. Although Shubman Gill looked better than how he performed in the previous games, Nitish Rana was scratchy. Rishabh Pant rightly brought Axar Patel into the attack early in the fourth over and the left-arm spinner struck immediately, accounting for Rana.
Shubman and Rahul Tripathi then stitched together a pretty decent stand. But the latter’s dismissal, and that of captain Eoin Morgan and Sunil Narine — who was again made to bat in the wrong slot — soon after clearly had an effect on Shubman.
Precisely, from over No.11 till the 17th, KKR batsmen simply made a mess of things with their innings going nowhere till Russell unleashed those blows in the last couple of overs off Kagiso Rabada and Avesh Khan to take the total past 150.
Missing a trick
Whatever little momentum Russell had provided was gone when Shaw clobbered Shivam Mavi for six boundaries in a row in the very first over of the Capitals’ run chase that yielded them 25. Mavi looked clueless in that over, while Shaw, making excellent use of his hand-eye coordination, found the gaps to perfection.
Did captain Morgan miss a trick by not opening the bowling with Pat Cummins, someone who’s had success against Shaw in Australia? Probably yes. In fact, when Cummins came on to bowl towards the end of Powerplay, both openers were very well set.