IPL 2021: Nitish Rana claimed the Orange Cap after scoring a fifty against Mumbai Indians.© BCCI/IPL
Kolkata Knight Riders succumbed to a defeat against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday after being in control of the run chase for a large part of the innings. Much of that had to do with an inconsistent middle order that hasn’t been able to carry on the good work done by Nitish Rana, KKR’s most consistent scorer, at the top. Against the undefeated Royal Challengers Bangalore, the likes of Eoin Morgan, KKR captain, Shakib Al Hasan, Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell need to be at the top of their game with the bat. While Morgan and Karthik have been among the runs of late, in international cricket and IPL, it is Russell’s decline as a power hitter that will worry KKR the most.
The big-hitter from the West Indies has managed 14 runs from two matches thus far after a disappointing 2020 season where he scored only 117 runs from 10 games.
However, Rana’s form as an opener and Russell’s returns with the ball in the death overs have given KKR fresh hopes.
Here are the players to watch out for ahead of Sunday’s clash against RCB
At the moment, it seems like Rana is the only KKR batsman who can middle the ball and score consistently. His own the Orange Cap with 137 runs from two matches and is the only KKR batsman in the top 10 scorers this season so far. While these are early days, Rana has emerged as both a top-order hitter as well as an anchor should the team lose wickets early. However, he can’t do it all by himself.
After a big price tag seemed to weigh heavy on Pat Cummins in the first half of last season, the seasoned Australian pacer has turned things around well. He finished with 12 wickets at 7.86 runs per over last season and has returned 1 for 30 and 2 for 24 from his quota of four overs in the two matches thus far. With raw pace and an ability to move the new ball and hit the block hole at the death, Cummins could be the enforcer for KKR this season with the ball.
While Russell’s returns have dwindled with the bat, he has emerged as a death-overs specialist with the ball for KKR. He picked up a five-wicket haul (5 for 15) in just two overs that he bowled against MI in the last match, and his full and wide deliveries delivered from an angle created while bowling around the wickets has choked many a batsmen in the final overs. RCB would be wary of him.
Topics mentioned in this article