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Home Fantasy Cricket PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2021 Talking Points: Kolkata end 4-match losing streak...

PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2021 Talking Points: Kolkata end 4-match losing streak with dominating win

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 123/9 in 20 overs (Mayank Agarwal 31; Prasidh Krishna 3-30) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 126/5 in 20 overs (Eoin Morgan 47*, Rahul Tripathi 41) by 5 wickets

The Kolkata Knight Riders finally managed to end their 4 match losing streak as they got the better of Punjab Kings by 5 wickets. It was also their sixth successive win over the rivals. Opting to bowl first in the first game at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, the Knights were on the mark with the ball as Shivam Mavi, in particular impressed, as he conceded 13 runs in just 4 overs. The Punjab batters were unable to break the shackles, as they managed only 123 in their 20 overs. Despite some initial hiccups that saw KKR at 17 for 3 at one stage, the Knights, led by a fine knock by skipper Eoin Morgan, got the two points on the board. 

Here are the talking points from the match between the Knight Riders and Punjab Kings. 

Shivam Mavi was the star with the ball 

The young bowler was the star of the night as he picked up the crucial wicket of Chris Gayle (out for a golden duck) whilst conceding only 13 runs in his 4 overs. So impressive was the youngster, who had been a part of the World Cup winning squad of the Under 19 team in 2018, that Eoin Morgan bowled Mavi for four overs in a row. He bowled at brisk pace, hit the good length often and stalled the run flow with his variations. He was ably supported by the other pacers, who have not had the best season this year. Pat Cummins got Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul while he was attempting his second six in a row, while Prasidh Krishna too kept things tight and got Deepak Hooda. The Punjab side had sunk to 42 for 3, and it was left to Mayank Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran to resurrect the innings, but some tight bowling from the spinners ensured that did not happen. 

Narine and Varun Chakravarthy bowl well despite dew around 

So much was the dew at the venue, that at one point it seemed like the ground had been watered! However, despite the challenges of the wet ball, the spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy from Kolkata Knight Riders impressed. Punjab lost three wickets in the span of 13 balls and the responsibility was on Mayank to anchor the innings. He started off with the right intention as he smashed Prasidh Krishna for a huge six over deep mid wicket, but he was sent back as he tried to take on Narine. A brilliant tumbling catch by Rahul Tripathi meant that the opener had to depart for 31 that came in 34 balls. 

Narine then got the wicket of Australian Moises Henriques as the scorecard read 75 for 5. Nicholas Pooran, who had three ducks in four innings before the game, looked in good touch as he dispatched Varun for a six and then a four, but the mystery spinner had the last laugh as he got the West Indian by uprooting his off stumps as the batter failed to connect. 

Combined, the duo of Narine and Varun conceded 46 in their 8 overs for 3 wickets, with Narine picking up 2 scalps. 

Where does the misery end for Punjab Kings? 

After the auctions, Punjab Kings undoubtedly had one of the best teams on paper, with the additions of Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. However, the two Aussie pacers have been dropped after failing to get going, with Malan’s chances being limited. KL Rahul’s approach needs serious tinkering, as his slow strike rate seems to be putting pressure on the others to get going. The think tank might be tempted to play Chris Gayle at the top considering most of his runs have come at the top, while Rahul could play at three and anchor the innings – a move that will ensure that the power play overs are utilized. 

Nicholas Pooran has been a huge disappointment, and Malan could get a look in instead, while Moises Henriques has not been able to set the IPL on fire. Though Chris Jordan was picked in the squad against KKR on Monday, the franchise might be tempted to play Meredith considering his pace. 

Shubman Gill needs to work on his T20 game 

Shubman Gill has been shortlisted as one of the top players to watch out for but his T20 records are yet to indicate that he can play at the top level of the shortest format consistently. The KKR opener had a strike rate of just 117.96 in 2020 – the lowest among all openers – and has struggled this year with a strike rate of 121.21 after 6 games. He has been able to score only 80 runs as well, and has not been able to break the shackles at the top of the order. 

The youngster had struggled to get going in the last game against Rajasthan Royals, which put the other batters under a lot of pressure, and skipper Eoin Morgan, has indirectly asked the top order to show more intent in the powerplay overs. With Rahul Tripathi in brilliant form – he has scored 127 runs at a strike rate of nearing 143 – the temptation will be high to play the batter at the top of the order. Gill, however, has been included in KKR’s leadership group, which shows that the franchise are looking to back him. He, thus, might not get dropped, but moving Tripathi at the top with Nitish Rana at three (where he has played most games) could be a possibility.

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