Kolkata Knight Riders' first game had a fairy-tale ending courtesy West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell. With 53 runs needed in the last three overs, very few would have backed the batting team to pull off this miracle.
While Russell was busy smashing the ball to different parts of the ground, Shubman Gill finished the match with two sixes in the last over. Despite a positive outcome, there are certain areas where the team needs to focus if they want to continue winning in the tournament.
#3 – Using Assets Wisely
It came as a surprise to many when KKR opted to use the services of Prasidh Krishna to bowl the first over of the game despite having Lockie Ferguson in the team. The New Zealand speedster is known for his extreme pace and swing bowling which could have been used well with the new ball. Ferguson was only introduced in the fifth over and couldn’t extract as much swing as he could have initially.
Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell were given three overs each while Kuldeep Yadav bowled only two in the game. KKR has always relied heavily on their spin trio and having under-used them in the first game is a sign of concern.
Opting for the inexperienced pacer in the form of Krishna and part-time spinner Nitish Rana was a big gamble as Karthik ignored battle-hardened bowlers such as Russell, Narine, Yadav and Chawla.
#2 – The use of DRS
Dinesh Karthik hasn’t had the best of runs when it comes to taking a review. It was just the second over of the game when Piyush Chawla struck David Warner’s pads and thought that he got the first breakthrough for the team.
The umpire refused the appeal as it was evident that the ball had pitched outside leg-stump. Chawla convinced Karthik to go for a review and the skipper succumbed to the bowler’s wishes. In the process, KKR lost their review option in the second over itself.
Later in the game, Sunil Narine trapped Jonny Bairstow in front of the stumps but couldn’t review umpire’s decision as the team had none left.
As a captain, Karthik has made eight review decisions and only one has been successful. Karthik needs to be more sensible with his review calls and not get overawed by the situation.
#1 – Fielding
While David Warner was busy creating history with his comeback innings, KKR’s fielding helped Warner stay at the crease longer on several instances.
He was dropped by Robin Uthappa off Lockie Ferguson’s bowling inside the power-play. Although it was a tough catch and fell short of Uthappa, had it stuck, the situation would have been very different.
Post that difficult chance, Karthik dropped Warner twice in the game. Once on Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling and then a regulation catch on Ferguson’s bowling in the 12th over.
Eventually, Uthappa took a spectacular catch to dismiss Warner and curtail his innings. Who knows, had that catch not being taken, Warner might have gone on to score the first hundred of this edition.
KKR needs to address these issues before they go up against Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday. It is unlikely that the combination of the team would be changed as they would like to continue the winning momentum.
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