In the IPL 2020, Kolkata Knight Riders surprised many when in the middle of the tournament then skipper Dinesh Karthik stepped down as skipper and replaced by England’s 2109 ICC World Cup winning skipper Eoin Morgan as the team was performing below par.
Now in 2021 little seems to have changed for Kolkata Knight Riders even after Morgan taking over. KKR lost their fourth match in this year’s tournament. Latest one is to Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai by six wickets in Mumbai.
Rajasthan Skipper Sanju Samson the toss and elected to field first. His bowlers lived up to the expectation and choked the KKR batsmen. KKR whose top order collapsed to 47/5 against CSK in their earlier match chasing 221 and falling 18 runs short . The impact of the collapse was visible in this match as the openers – Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill struggled to get away. They could post a low 24 in 5.4 overs thus messing up the power play. Rana ( 22), Gill looked out of form ( 11). Rahul Tripathi tried to speed things up with his 36. Promoted up Sunil Narine scored only 6. Skipper Eoin Morgan battling for form was run-out for 0 when a Tripathi shot hit his bat and he was mid way on the pitch allowing Morris to remove the bails. Dinesh Karthik ( 25) , the big hitting Andre Russell ( 9), Pat Cummins ( 10) could not hit the RR bowlers . Kolkata Batting flopped again and they could post a very modest 133/ 9 in their allotted 20 overs. Credit to RR bowlers for bowling the right length and Samson was spot on with his field placings and bowling changes as well .
RR bowlers were impressive . Chris Morris leading the way with 4/ 23 ( 4 overs), Jaydev Unadkat 1/25 ( 4 overs), Chetan Sakariya 1/31 (4 overs), Mustafizur Rahman 1/22 ( 4 overs), Rahul Tewatia 0/ 24 ( 3 overs)
RR now needed a sensible batting approach to win this match. And they did that but lost four wickets in the process. Jos Buttler going through a lean patch fell for 5. Yashasvi Jaiswal scored 22 off 17 balls with five fours . he was dropped on 0 by Shubman Gill. In a close match and defending a low total who knows what would have been the result had that catch been taken . Shivam Dube scored 22 off 18 balls . Rahul Tewatia ( 5 ). Facing flak for his poor shot selection and inconsistency RR Skipper Sanju Samson batted sensibly ands remained unbeaten on 42 off 41 balls. Along with David Miller not out 24 RR reached 134/4 in 18.5 overs . Winning by six wickets and seven balls to spare .
While RR after string of losses got back to winning ways. KKR with their fourth loss will have to get their act together. Unless they do they face the danger of crashing out early . The pressure is mounting on Eoin Morgan , head coach Brendon McCullum to get team selection right and arrest the slide quickly.