It was just a matter of time for the Dinesh Karthik-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to get the winning form and what better than dominating Rajasthan Royals (RR) who were coming into the contest on the back of two wins and zero defeats.
A major portion of credit goes to the young talents in the team namely Shivam Mavi (2/20, Kamlesh Nagarkoti (1/13), and Shubman Gill (47), who held the nerves under control and came up with clutch performances to take the team to a victory zone.
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Pacer Shivam Mavi was awarded as the ‘Player of the Match’ for his dismissals of Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler, as their presence for longer duration could have overturned the outcome.
Shubhman Gill’s 47 (34b, 5 fours, 1 six) helped the Knight Riders churn those crucial runs in the initial overs bowled by Ankit Rajpoot and Shreyas Gopal. Though the opener started his innings at a slow pace, he geared up by unleashing a flurry of fours in the latter stages.
Though Andre Russell couldn’t extend his stay in the middle, his 24 off 14 balls (3 sixes) helped the side get the boost at the right moment.
Lot of areas we need to improve: Dinesh Karthik
Speaking on the 37-run win that KKR established, skipper Dinesh Karthik spoke in the post-match presentation on how there are plenty of areas for the team to work upon and improve. He credited the youngsters for the way they played and mentioned that the only way to succeed while playing in Dubai was to put a lot of runs on board.
“Wouldn’t call it a perfect game. Lot of areas we need to improve. The way Gill batted, Mavi bowled, Russell batted. Also the youngsters after the high catches. Archer bowled really well. Wasn’t that easy a wicket to bat on.
Couple of guys made it look better than it was. These boys, the journey they have been through when they are not playing, is a hard one. Putting runs on the board is what we thought was the best way to go forward on this ground,” said the KKR skipper.
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Dinesh Karthik hasn’t had a great run with the bat in the IPL season underway, averaging 10.33 with 31 runs to his name. His ability to anchor and accelerate the game has been one of KKR’s forte in the last two seasons, and being a crucial player in the middle-overs, he will have to get those required numbers on board as the tournament progresses.
Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine haven’t fired so far. Narine could muster merely 15 runs (2 fours, 1 six) in the last outing, while Rana (22, 17 b, 2 fours, 1 six), who looked in a good nick, got caught when trying to loft a cover drive. The duo are among the core players in KKR’s top-order and it becomes all the more important for them to get their golden touch.
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Currently placed second in the points table with an NRR of +0.117 and 4 points under their belt, Kolkata Knight Riders would now aim to make it a hat-trick of wins as they take on the table-toppers Delhi Capitals (DC) in Sharjah on October 2.
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