Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) could face a lot of problems in IPL 2020 if they have to start their bowling effort with young Indian pacers on flat wickets. He made this observation while reviewing the Kolkata-based franchise's defeat against the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the former's tournament opener.
While talking about the MI innings, Aakash Chopra mentioned that KKR had seemed to be on the ascendency early on after bagging the wicket of Quinton de Kock.
"After losing the toss and batting first, MI lost their first wicket early and it seemed that KKR would be on top after their good start."
"But after that, it was just one-way traffic because Rohit Sharma decided that he was going to go on the attack. He was hitting sixes in almost every and really went after Pat Cummins, who conceded almost 50 runs in 3 overs."
Aakash Chopra spoke highly about Suryakumar Yadav's contribution in the partnership with Rohit Sharma, hoping that the former would get a chance to represent India soon.
"But it was not only about Rohit Sharma, it was also about Suryakumar Yadav. He also batted very well and he is repatedly knocking the doors for an India call-up and eventually he will break the door down is what I feel."
The former KKR player opined that the Mumbai Indians seemed to have put up a defendable target even though the conditions were favourable for the chasing team.
"There was a mini-collapse but despite that they had enough runs on the board to defend despite the flat pitch and dew coming later on in the game."
Aakash Chopra observed that KKR did not have the best of starts, with both their openers falling to short-pitched deliveries.
"KKR did not have a good start as they lost two early wickets, with both Sunil Narine and Shubman Gill falling to bouncers."
He added that none of the KKR middle-order batsmen - Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell - could play a substantial knock even though all of them got off to starts.
"Dinesh Karthik, who promoted himself, came next followed by Rana, Morgan and Russell, all played for a little while but none of them could convert their innings into a big knock and KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals."
Aakash Chopra pointed out that KKR was outplayed in the end with Pat Cummins' enterprising innings the only bright spot in their batting.
"In the end KKR lost very badly. The only shining point was Pat Cummins' batting who even smashed Bumrah in one of the overs."
Aakash Chopra on KKR's bowling woes
Aakash Chopra opined that KKR could face a lot of problems if they intend to start with youngsters bowling at both ends, especially on unhelpful surfaces.
"If there is no help from the pitch and you start the bowling with kids, it is going to be a problem. If you had played Prasidh Krishna or Nagarkoti, they are also young."
The reputed commentator observed that Shivam Mavi had stood out with the ball but added that the KKR bowling had faced the brunt of the music with their premier seamer Pat Cummins carted around the park.
"Mavi has been an absolutely standout performer. But Pat Cummins, he is a senior bowler, if he doesn't do well then KKR will be stuck."
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Sunil Narine is no longer the same force he used to be earlier, adding to KKR's bowling woes.
"The way he got hit, Warrier also went a little haywire and Sunil Narine does not have that sharpness, so it is looking like a problem."
The 43-year-old pointed out that KKR had their hands full even in the death overs, with Pat Cummins not completing his quota of overs. He expressed hope that Andre Russell will be able to contribute more with the ball in the upcoming matches.
"Because even at the death, if you have to go towards Shivam Mavi instead of Cummins, although he was good. I think Russell will have to bowl a little more and you would expect more wickets somehow.
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that the Kolkata Knight Riders bowling attack looked pedestrian in their match against the Mumbai Indians yesterday.
"In this game, the KKR bowling was looking pedestrian."
The KKR bowling attack, Pat Cummins in particular, was taken apart by Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav during their 90-run partnership for the second wicket. The Aussie did not even get his full quota of 4 overs, having conceded 49 runs in his first three overs.
Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav, the other strike bowlers in the KKR line-up, also didn't trouble the batsmen much. Although the former bowled an economical 4-over spell, he didn't seem to have the zip in his bowling to threaten the batsmen.
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Published 24 Sep 2020, 11:01 IST