It was a strange day for Kolkata Knight Riders with them agonizingly falling short of a win, after a Mogan-Tripathi masterclass almost clinched them a win. A timely strike by Kagiso Rabada threw spanner in the KKR’s works in the end, but the focus should solely be on Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy.
Kolkata is the new Rajasthan
Rajasthan Royals have always been touted as the safe place for the Indian youngsters, with the likes of Sanju Samson getting new wings at the franchise. They have the most players from the current U-19 batch as well, but think what, we have a new challenger in the house. Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkotti, and Shivam Mavi, Kolkata Knight Riders had five uncapped players in the playing XI today, something that we don’t see very often. Alongside them also Shubman Gill, who has played two games for India but very much the young cricketer we know and love. It is a solid projection of the future they have and a core that can make them even stronger no matter what the BCCI decides about the mega auction this year.
‘Smart’ KKR get the match-up on point in middle-overs
In between 7-16 overs, Shreyas Iyer scores at an average of 44.84 at an SR of 132.5 against spinners and that is saying something. Even though the Delhi Capitals skipper has a tangible amount of problem against pacers, he thrives when he has a spinner at hand and that is a point the Kolkata-based franchise wanted to avoid. Iyer entered the field in the sixth over and KKR smartly took all their spinners off the attack and used all their pacers upfront to unsettle Iyer. It worked to an extent, with Iyer score only 9 runs off 8 balls and it was only against Chakravarthy the Mumbai-born player started to open his arms and aim for the skies. It was a smart move just that Iyer was in no mood to let the chance pass and scored a craft unbeaten 88 at the end.
Karthik is bereft of ideas, at worst and at best
Even before the tournament started, Sunil Gavaskar made a blasphemous comment that Eoin Morgan might replace the Tamil Nadu man mid-way of the tournament, just like Steve Smith did at Rajasthan Royals last season. Karthik would have none of that - for he knows the backing that he has from the KKR management - but his captaincy towards the end of the Delhi innings belied any logic. Even when he had one over each from Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, for reasons only known to him, he threw the ball to Varun Chakravarthy, knowing fully well that an all-set Shreyas Iyer was at the crease. We have already discussed the pain that Iyer can inflict on you once he is in zone against the spinners and nothing beyond this can ever justify the atrocious call. It is ironic because Karthik’s smartness against Iyer was the reason we had hailed the man in the second point. What a dramatic turn-around this was!
Amit Mishra is a legend we don’t care enough about!
We had one of our Truthful Tuesdays running on this where Anirudh explained how under-rated and unlucky Mishra has always been despite being at the forefront of many success stories. He never got a long rope when he deserved it with the Indian team but congratulations are due to Delhi Capitals for banking on the Haryana man’s experience. The 37-year-old slowed the game down to an extent that it seemed improbable that we are in Sharjah, and gave away only a couple of runs to go with a dropped catch. His second over was no bad either and despite going for a no-ball and a six, he was disciplined. Taming someone like Shubman Gill on such a surface was a crucial game plan that Mishra had and he successfully managed to do that on a surface that had nothing for spinners.