After an important and unexpected announcement, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and their new skipper Eoin Morgan had all eyes on them.
Playing against a team that has meant nothing but disaster for them in the IPL, was a World Cup-winning captain at the helm going to change that statistic? Unfortunately for them, KKR hardly turned up against the Mumbai Indians (MI) except a few decent individual performances, and are slowly seeing their qualification hopes recede.
After opting to bat first, KKR got off a slow start, but were unlucky to lose Rahul Tripathi to a stunner of a catch. Nitish Rana too was dismissed before he could settle.
While Shubman Gill got a feel of the conditions, he as well as former skipper Karthik were dismissed in a single Rahul Chahar over to leave the side reeling. Dangerman Russell too was dismissed by a short-ball ploy to leave the side in deep trouble.
KKR did well from a miserable 61/5 in 10.4 overs to lose no further wickets and post 148. They did so due to a steady hand of 39 from new skipper Morgan and an impressive 53 from pace spearhead Pat Cummins. On a ground where the Mumbai Indians have looked a class apart, however, it was not nearly going to be enough.
Right from the outset, MI tore into KKR. Mystery spinner Chakravarthy and young quick Mavi were strangely held back, as Cummins, Chris Green and Prasidh Krishna were carted around for runs.
KKR took a total of two wickets - that of Rohit Sharma and then Suryakumar Yadav - but their main threat was not out throughout. Quinton de Kock's blazing form and Hardik Pandya's quick striking made a mockery of the total, ending the game with more than three overs to spare.
Several players underperformed in KKR's second straight heavy loss that will further dent their Net Run Rate (NRR). Here are the top three underperformers from the MI vs KKR IPL game.
#3 Prasidh Krishna (KKR)
Karnataka pacer Prasidh Krishna has been with KKR for the past three seasons, having made an important impact for them in 2018 after coming in as a replacement player.
His start to this season was impressive, with him bagging three wickets in a tense win against KXIP. However, he has been ordinary in KKR's two heavy defeats since then, reminiscent of his form in 2019 where he was expensive with few wickets to show for his efforts.
In this game, Krishna was once again used in the powerplay by Morgan, and was punished by Rohit and De Kock. He made the cardinal sin of feeding short balls to Rohit, and in the rest of his two overs was feasted upon by the South African for minor errors.
Given how KKR were defending a small total against a team that is arguably the strongest this season, a lot more was expected from Krishna than two wicketless overs for 30 runs.
#2 Nathan Coulter-Nile (MI)
One of the most expensive players picked in the auctions for this season, Coulter-Nile returned after an injury layoff, with the impressive form of James Pattinson ensuring he was hardly missed by MI. His performance in this game may ensure MI do not miss him much for the remainder of the season, either.
Coulter-Nile's first over smacked of a bowler out of action for a while, as he sent down three wides. Although he did account for Nitish Rana with a short ball, he looked out of answers to the aggression of Cummins and Morgan, who ensured he finished with figures of 4-0-51-1. He stood out on a day where all other MI bowlers conceded 8 runs an over or less, and is unlikely to hold on to his place.
#1 Dinesh Karthik (KKR)
A lot of the pre-match chatter was about Dinesh Karthik - selfless team player, looking to give more with the bat, reduced pressure translating to performances. Apart from the single standout performance - a match-winning 58 off 29 - Karthik has had a very poor season, with several single-digit scores to his name. The list only grew in this game.
Sent in at number four to dig the team out of a hole due to a slow start, Karthik did not help in his 4 off 8 balls. The pressure went onto young Gill, who threw his wicket away after working hard against the MI bowlers in the powerplay.
In a dismissal similar to his own against RCB, Karthik went for a paddle shot to a ball pitched outside off, only to tamely deflect it onto his own stumps. With fewer excuses now, Karthik as well as KKR are staring down the barrel.
Published 16 Oct 2020, 23:43 IST