Even after some late blows from Andre Russell, who scored a 27-ball 45, Kolkata Knight Riders could only get themselves to a below-par total of 154 in the first innings. In reply, Delhi openers, Shaw and Dhawan were relentless and even scored 67 off the first six to take them home in no time.
Where Kolkata lost the game
Two words, one name - Shubman Gill - cost the Kolkata Knight Riders a perfect start and in hindsight, the game. In Ahmedabad, where it is crucial to score runs off the new ball, Gill scored a 38-ball 43, with Gill only scoring 23 of those runs in the first six overs. In a game where Delhi opener Prithvi Shaw himself scored 24 runs in the first over of the innings, Gill’s innings was just criminal.
Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana need to switch positions, ASAP!
This isn’t even an observation, it looks more like a fact now, considering how Kolkata Knight Riders have not read any of the playbooks that talks about positions in T20 cricket. Nitish Rana, who emerged as a positive light from last season, played in the back end of the tournament as an opener and the natural opener, Rahul Tripathi, at No.3. The switch might have worked, like how the Sunil Narine experiment worked in a season or two but when it ends, you know it has indeed ended. So this is the time for KKR to understand the Tripathi-Rana swap has started to fade and the teams have made an effective plan to nullify the effects of both the batsmen. Stop right there. Rana in the powerplay has scored 503 runs but hold on, it has come at a strike rate of 116.2 while averaging 38.7, with 52.7% dot balls. Enough of this, Tripathi, a natural opener, has scored more runs (574), averaging just 28.7 but with just 44% dot balls. More than that, he strikes the ball at 140, something that Rana can only dream of right now. Tripathi’s numbers fall to disgrace after the powerplay, just like how the left-handed Rana’s peaks after the powerplay. Use the resources where they are best at, KKR.
Lalit Yadav provides Delhi that missing X-factor
Yes, Delhi have great spinners in the form of - Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Amit Mishra - but none have been as resourceful as Lalit Yadav, the man who has become a bankable factor for the Delhi Capitals this season. After Delhi’s win over Mumbai, their skipper Rishabh Pant, in the post-match press conference insisted that the franchise has earmarked Lalit Yadav as a potential future star. In fact, to be honest, Pant got it right, Lalit is indeed a superstar, emerging out of nowhere in this Delhi setup, with the ball and the bat. Against Mumbai, he finished the game off with the bat after picking up wickets with the ball. In today’s encounter, he was the perfect foil for Delhi Capitals to carry on with their momentum. His over, potentially changed the course of the innings, with twin wickets of KKR skipper Eoin Morgan and Sunil Narine. Last season, in the same fixture, Ashwin had erred in his line and length, which irked coach Ricky Ponting but today, the Australian coach looked a happy man because of how he changed the game. He ended up conceding just 13 runs in three overs, picking up two crucial wickets.
Kolkata Knight Riders ignoring Lockie Ferguson is a sin
Yes, there is the undue pressure of picking KKR’s match-winner, Sunil Narine but more importantly, they have a match-winner Lockie Ferguson on the bench. They benched him at the Wankhede stadium, they benched him in Chennai and now they are benching him in Ahmedabad, with the franchise struggling to pick any wickets in the powerplay. Last season, late in the season, the franchise picked the Kiwi speedster in the playing XI, a decision that nearly turned their fortune around. However, the stunning decision to drop him down on the bench, considering the powerplay troubles that they have had, is just stunning. In the powerplay, Ferguson has picked up 12 wickets, averaging 25 and conceding just 8.11 RPO. So for whichever reason, the Knight Riders are saving up Ferguson, it is going to cost them the season.
Prithvi Shaw has knocked on the door and can break it down this season
Sorry to all KL Rahul fans, your hero, the saviour as you suggest is on the decline and that’s just how international cricket works. If Rahul indeed had learnt from the past, he wouldn’t have started the new season with a strike rate of 129.03, lower than what he scored last year. Meanwhile, there is Prithvi Shaw, the man who struggled in Australia and was made into a trending meme. In seven games this season, the right-hander has scored 264 runs, at a strike rate of 172.54 and an average of 44. Forget that, in just the powerplay, where Rahul has scored 90 runs off 91 deliveries, averaging 30 at a strike rate of 98.9. That’s not one bit justified, whereas Shaw has come swinging. In the powerplay, Shaw has scored 184 runs in 98 balls, averaging 61.3 and striking it at 187.8. That should say it all, he has knocked the door with his performance thus far but come to the end of the season, he can easily break it down. So Rahul, watch yourself and especially, watch how you take that dreaded bat on the field. Forget this IPL season, While Shaw didn't play the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy because of his presence in the Indian team, he scored 827 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. 827 runs at an average of 165.40 and a strike rate of 138.29 in India's premier 50-over domestic competition.
MVP - Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw can’t put a foot wrong, haven’t we all heard this before? This time, for real, the Mumbaikar looks possessed with an ultimate version of himself, demonstrating power-hitting and showing us all, a reincarnation of Virender Sehwag. We have talked highly about Faf du Plessis and his exploits in the powerplay but what about Shaw? Shaw 48 only takes his run tally to 184 runs in the powerplay, averaging 61.3 and a strike rate of 187.8, game over!
Match Frenzy O Meter - Horrible
During the Chennai leg, there were several prayers to keep the pitch in Chennai far away from the IPL and head to Ahmedabad, where they said there were going to be exciting wickets. Come out guys, you should be very happy now. How exciting has this pitch been? If anything, it has been horrible. To think that they are going to play the playoffs in Ahmedabad, god save us all.