IPL 2019: The best team of Week 1
The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League completed its first week, with the super Saturday and Sunday to follow.
The tournament started with a low-scoring match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore but six of the next seven matches have been high-scoring affairs.
Only two teams are on a 100% record so far - Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders. Unlike Chennai, the Knight Riders have been involved in high scoring fixtures and emerged victorious on both occasions.
In their first match, they played against the last year's finalists Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens. Kolkata opted to bowl first but it was the visitors that took the initial advantage as David Warner and Jonny Bairstow stitched a century partnership for the first wicket. Vijay Shankar too contributed for the Hyderabad based franchise and as a result, they posted a target of 182.
During the chase, Nitish Rana, who opted the batting for Kolkata following Narine's injury in the field, built a crucial partnership of 80-runs with Robin Uthappa. Rana with his half-century led the KKR's chase but got out at a crucial juncture.
Sunrisers were in the driver's seat after the seventeenth over as KKR needed 53 runs in the last three overs. Kolkata had a tough task in front of them as no team has ever managed to win a match by scoring those many runs in the last three overs.
But KKR had the right man to do the task for them - Andre Russell. The big-hitting Jamaican all-rounder smashed 49 runs off just 19 balls with the help of four fours and as many sixes. His firepower knock helped KKR score 19 runs each of the eighteenth and the nineteenth overs.
As a result of Russell's innings, Kolkata needed just 13 runs off the last over and the youngest member in their squad, Shubman Gill was enough to do the task. Gill hit two sixes off Shakib Al Hasan and helped his side win the match by two runs.
The ability to snatch victory from under the nose of the opposition makes Kolkata Knight Riders the team of the week.
In their second match of the season, Kolkata did not just win but asserted their dominance on Kings XI Punjab. After half-centurions Rana and Uthappa stitched a 110-run partnership for the third wicket, it was once again Andre Russell that provided the much-needed firepower at the back end of the innings.
Russell was bowled out when he was on 3 but the decision was overturned because KXIP had just three fielders inside the circle. After he was given a reprieve by the visitors, Russell made the most of the opportunity and went to score 48 runs off just 17 balls.
Russell carnage powered Kolkata to a mammoth 218 in 20 overs. The KKR bowlers backed up the performance of their batsmen and nearly sealed the deal by conceding just 77 in the first 10 overs.
Mayank Agarwal and David Miller tried their best by scoring half-centuries but it was KKR that emerged victorious by 28 runs.
Kolkata Knight Riders are deservedly at the top of the IPL table after week one and are without any doubt the team of the week. Kolkata fans will hope that their side continue to do the same in the coming weeks.