Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the questionable tactics employed by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) contributed to their defeat against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in yesterday's IPL 2020 encounter.
He made this observation while reviewing the clash between the two teams in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by questioning the strategies adopted by the Kolkata Knight Riders, both during their batting and their bowling effort.
"Some of the tactics employed by Kolkata Knight Riders were questionable, whether it was the batting order or how their bowling lineup has been used."
The reputed commentator pointed out that the Kings XI Punjab got off to the perfect start by dismissing three Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen by the end of the second over, with Mohammed Shami being the wrecker-in-chief.
"Mohammed Shami has been sensational. He dismissed Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik in the same over while Maxwell got Nitish Rana in the one over he bowled. So KKR had lost 3 wickets with just 10 runs on the board. KXIP could not have had a better start."
"But that also begs a question to be asked that what is the batting order system for KKR. Because Dinesh Karthik is not scoring runs but they keep sending him up the order. Eoin Morgan has some form but he does not send himself up the order."
He also asked if the Kolkata Knight Riders team management has defined proper roles for each of their players, with Sunil Narine being shunted up and down the batting order.
"They are sending Sunil Narine sometimes at No.4 and at other times pushing him too low down the order. There has been a lack of clarity in terms of the role distribution which I feel personally although KKR might have a slightly different view."
The 43-year-old lauded Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi for applying the brakes after Morgan and Shubman Gill brought the Kolkata Knight Riders right back in the game with their enterprising partnership.
"After that when KKR were scoring almost 10 runs an over, Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi started creating a stranglehold although their first overs were expensive but they got wickets after that."
Aakash Chopra pointed out that the Kolkata Knight Riders were restricted to a below-par score, with the conditions in Sharjah favouring the batsmen.
"KKR were stopped as if you don't reach 170-180, the match turns in the favour of the team that is chasing."
Aakash Chopra on the Kolkata Knight Riders bowling effort
Talking about the Kolkata Knight Riders bowling effort, Aakash Chopra questioned the decision to hold back Lockie Ferguson even though they had not taken early wickets.
"I don't know if there is a clause in Ferguson's contract that KKR cannot bowl him in the powerplay or he won't bowl. Because it was beyond my understanding, honestly. Because if they had taken wickets it was understandable but when then they had not taken wickets, they called him to bowl in the 12th over."
The former Kolkata Knight Riders opener also hit out at Chris Gayle being faced with spin-bowling in the initial stages of his innings, which allowed the Jamaican to get settled in the middle.
"It just didn't make sense that they had a wicket-taking bowler and they didn't give him the bowling. I was also surprised that KKR bowled spin bowlers from both ends when Chris Gayle came to bat and by the time fast bowling was employed, he was already set."
While acknowledging that the Kolkata Knight Riders did not have too many runs to defend, Aakash Chopra pointed out that their bowling still lacked potency.
"They did not have runs on the board, that is correct, but there was not much sharpness seen in the bowling. In all, they could only take two wickets and in the end it was a one-way street completely."
He signed off by highlighting that the Kolkata Knight Riders have dished out below-par performances in two of their last three encounters.
"In the last match they had decimated the Delhi Capitals but on either side of that fantastic win there have been two very ordinary performances from KKR."
With yesterday's win, the Kings XI Punjab have jumped above the Kolkata Knight Riders to occupy the fourth spot in the IPL 2020 points table. Although both the teams have 12 points in their respective kitties, the former is placed higher due to their superior net run rate.
Published 27 Oct 2020, 11:03 IST