KKR will have to play to potential against RCB

Ayaz Memon/Mumbai
Filed on May 3, 2021 | Last updated on May 3, 2021 at 12.10 am
KKR in dire need of victory. — AFP

To exploit the situation profitably, however, KKR will have to play to potential

The first time these teams met this season, RCB whipped KKR by 38 runs. AB de Villiers played a thunderous knock of 76 from just 34 deliveries, Glenn Maxwell made a powerful 78, and among bowlers, Harshal Patel had the superb analysis of 2-17 from four overs.

This would suggest RCB have the upper hand in today’s match. But there is encouraging news for KKR comes from how RCB fared in their last match, against Punjab Kings.

Maxwell got a first ball bob, De Villiers didn’t score too many, and Virat Kohli, who completes the troika of superb batsmen for the team, couldn’t make an impact though he made 30-odd.

In the bowling, Patel, who had been the league’s best death bowler, was plundered for plenty by KL Rahul, which helped Punjab score 191, and RCB ended up losing by 34 runs, a heft margin in this format.

It would be presumptuous to say that RCB’s strong batting is tottering, but certainly it will be under pressure. Kohli hasn’t got a half century in a few games, which is unusual for him, and his decision to open the innings is being questioned. That in itself is a sign of some vulnerability.

The bowling has issues too. It is not only against Punjab that Patel had proved costly. Against CSK, Ravindra Jadeja waded into him, blasting 37 runs in a single over. Mohammed Siraj has been exceptional, and Kyle Jamieson very good in spells. But Yuzvendra Chahal is still not picking up wickets regularly enough, which gives opposing teams leeway to prosper in the middle overs.

To exploit the situation profitably, however, KKR will have to play to potential, which they have been unable to do in the first half of the tournament. In fact, the performances have been extremely disappointing.

This has essentially stemmed from the repeated failures of the top order batsmen. This is reflected in the list of highest run scorers this season. It does not feature any KKR batsman in the top 10.

Opener Nitish Rana comes in at No. 11, but his form has waned after a fine start to the season. Ditto Rahul Tripathi, who bats No. 3. But what’s riled the situation for KKR is lack of runs from the gifted Shubman Gill and captain Eoin Morgan.

Gill squandered good starts in the first few matches, which then saw him slump into a lean trot, before a knock of 40-odd saw him back among runs: Not very convincing made, yet runs all the same. Morgan’s form remains dismal. Barring one innings of some substance, he has been all at sea, and at times even guilty of throwing his wicket away.

KKR’s best batting has come from Andre Russell and Pat Cummins, which tells the story of the team’s travails. The best effort of bowlers, especially Varun Chakravarthy and Cummins, have failed to be of value because of the batting inadequacies.

Unless KKR are able to address this problem asap, RCB should be able to pick up two points unhindered.

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