IPL 2022: Knight Riders need to dig deep against Titans

KKR's prospects of getting the better of table-toppers Gujarat Titans depend on how well the bowlers perform tonight



David Miller was brilliant against the Chennai Super Kings. (BCCI)
David Miller was brilliant against the Chennai Super Kings. (BCCI)

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Sat 23 Apr 2022, 12:38 AM

After an impressive start, the Kolkata Knight Riders suffered a slump, losing three matches on the trot. The two-time champions don’t look half as good as the side that won three of their first four matches.

The loss to the Rajasthan Royals in their previous match was a massive blow. Though the margin of defeat was narrow, only seven runs, the manner of the defeat was demoralising and also exposed several weaknesses that could limit the team’s progress going ahead.

Set a stiff target of 217 by the marauding RR batsmen, KKR’s run chase was brave and dazzling but ultimately went in vain.

Just when it appeared they would pull off a spectacular win, there ensued an unexpected collapse, triggered by a sensational four-wicket over by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, that left them agonisingly short of victory.

The top-order set the tempo and the platform, but there was no sustenance to the innings from the middle and lower order. Andre Russell and Pat Cummins, heroes in some earlier matches with their bionic strokeplay, were disappointingly dismissed for ducks and that was that.

The worrying aspect for KKR, however, was not so much that their batting did not show wherewithal and resolve to make the run chase rewarding, but how easily their bowling crumbled under the onslaught of Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Co.

The bowling department, which has the likes of Cummins, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Umesh Yadav, Russell and Venkatesh Iyer, was the team’s strength.

But not only did these bowlers struggle to claim wickets regularly against RR but also failed to stop the gush of runs.

KKR’s prospects of getting the better of table-toppers Gujarat Titans depend on how well the bowlers perform tonight. The batsmen obviously face a stiff challenge from GT’s strong and varied attack (Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan), but even if they succeed, KKR’s bowlers will have to step up considerably to control the likes of Shubman Gill, Matthew Wade, David Miller, Pandya — all of whom have been in fantastic batting form.

GT’s all-round strength is matched by a strong desire to win. Led ably by Pandya, the new team have pulled off some stunning wins against heavy odds with flair and resolve. The manner in which GT snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against CSK through a thrilling partnership between Miller and Rashid highlights this.

KKR, currently trapped in a ‘corridor of uncertainty’, will have to dig deep to stop a team that are on a roll.


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