Irfan Pathan, reviewing the Mumbai vs Kolkata game, pin-pointed Eoin Morgan’s dismissal as the turning point of the game and opined that a rush of blood forced the KKR skipper to needlessly go for a glory hit. Pathan further noted that KKR did not go hard in the powerplay despite losing no wickets.
Needing 51 off 44 balls with 8 wickets in hand, Kolkata Knight Riders were coasting in the chase of 153, with both Nitish Rana and Eoin Morgan looking comfortable at the crease. The bowling was innocuous and Mumbai looked like they were on the verge of giving up. However, a needless attempt to hit a six by skipper Morgan, in the 13th over, opened the door for Mumbai, who not just clawed their way back into the contest, but choked the Knight Riders to walk away with two points. Morgan, off the bowling of Rahul Chahar, stepped out and went for a big heave but got his timing all wrong as he holed out to Marco Jansen at deep mid-wicket.
KKR fell like a pack of cards post Morgan’s dismissal, and Irfan Pathan felt that the skipper’s wicket was the turning point of the game. Reviewing the game on ESPN Cricinfo, Pathan was critical of Morgan’s needless hoick, and claimed that the KKR skipper paid the price for attempting a glory-hit at the wrong time.
“In the middle overs, I think Morgan went for a glory shot while he was batting. He thought he wanted to finish the game early, and this is where they lost the game,” Pathan said on ESPN Cricinfo’s T20 Time Out.
“They might have thought of increasing the NRR in the assumption that the game was in their hands, but I think that’s where they made a mistake.”
Barring Morgan, Pathan was also critical of the KKR openers. Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana racked up just 32 runs off the first 5 overs of the chase - this eventually turned into 45 off 6 - and Pathan noted that, on a slow wicket like Chennai, KKR should have attacked Mumbai harder in the powerplay, particularly having lost no wickets.
“I thought Kolkata should have gone harder in the powerplay as they hadn’t lost any wicket. Mumbai Indians lost one wicket and finished the powerplay on 42, but KKR didn’t lose any wicket. So they should have gone harder. Because of the slow pitches in Chennai, you need to make sure that you play the new ball really well and really hard, which they didn’t do.”
Deep Dasgupta, meanwhile, raised concerns over KKR’s out-of-touch middle-order. For the second game running, the trio of Morgan, Shakib and Russell failed to hit the ground running, and the former Indian wicket-keeper noted that the Knight Riders’ middle-order looked lost and down on confidence.
“I think it was a case of really low confidence. I mean, look at Andre Russell. He looked like he hadn’t hit a six in a while. The middle of KKR - there are some really good players there, but - isn’t in form. Shakib was brilliant in the ODI series versus the Windies but of late, I still have that question mark; Morgan hasn’t scored many; and Russell looks like a deer in front of headlights. The lack of confidence in the middle-order showed,” Dasgupta said.
KKR will play one more game in Chennai before shifting base to Mumbai, and Pathan noted that, on slow wickets, the Knight Riders should try sending Andre Russell up the order to get the most out of the West Indian.
“I think what KKR can do on these slow wickets, going forward, is maybe try Russell up the order. They need to find some solution. More than anything technical, his failure feels mental. I feel it’s just about him going out there and scoring runs,” Pathan said.