KKR’s Eoin Morgan, who batted at No.6 versus Delhi and almost pulled off a miraculous victory, feels that it is difficult to bat higher in the order in a team full of match winners like the Knight Riders. Morgan’s 18-ball 44 left fans wonder what would have happened had he walked out to bat earlier.
“Eoin Morgan at No.4, Andre Russell at No.5 and Dinesh Karthik at No.6” was what many, ahead of the season, envisioned Kolkata Knight Riders’ batting order to be, but the team’s think tank has already sprung a few surprises. While Russell has remained the floater everyone wanted him to be, Morgan has, however, seen himself bat at No.5 and No.6 and the decision, arguably, cost the team on Saturday versus the Capitals. Chasing a mammoth 229, Morgan did not walk in until KRR were 117/4 off 12.4 overs and the situation meant that even his best efforts - an 18-ball 44 which included five monster sixes - were not enough to take the side over the line.
Like DK’s captaincy, Morgan’s batting position, too, has come under scrutiny, but speaking in the post-match press conference, the 34-year-old claimed that it was ‘not easy’ to bat up in a team like KKR, which is filled with match-winners.
"When you look at our batting line-up, we have a number of match-winners, so it's very difficult to go up the order, particularly when you have a world-class all-rounder in Andre Russell. He is an incredible striker, and when he comes up the order, obviously everybody else has to shift down a little bit,” Morgan said in the post-match press conference.
“We went from a position of being behind the 8-ball, because Delhi bowled well, to a position of strength and looking like winning it. It just wasn't meant to be."
Morgan aside, another batsman whose batting position has come under the scanner is Sunil Narine, who endured yet another failure on Saturday, taking his average with the bat in the tournament to 6.75. There have been cries from experts for KKR to do away with the Narine experiment, but Morgan defended the same and claimed that Narine’s positivity embodied the way KKR wanted to play their cricket.
"Sunil is the type of player who can produce match-winning innings. It's never been a string of scores, over the years, but more about his impact in a game. He always takes the positive option, which summarises how we want to play our cricket,” Morgan said.