Sunil Narine started off in the 5th gear and just kept going while Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell finished off in the same vein and that meant KKR posted 245-6, the highest total in IPL 2018.
The Kings XI bowlers tried the now familiar tactic against Sunil Narine, bowled short but were unlucky as Narine missed a few and his mistimed pull shots landed in no man’s land. But he took on the spinners and was successful because he tried to go straight and not across the line. The left hander’s stroke play suggested that he was not just the pinch hitter at the top.
Dinesh Karthik was very innovative in his stroke play at the death and in the end scored his first half century of this year’s IPL which might catch a few of you by surprise.
It was surprising to see the tactic of Ashwin to have his fine leg and thirdman inside the circle on a wicket that was coming on to the bat. Usually thats a strategy used on slow tracks but Ashwin persisted with that ploy and Dinesh Karthik took full toll. Overall KKR scored 80 runs out of 245 behind the wicket, which is a very high percentage of runs.
The Kings XI batsmen had to go for it right from the start. Openers Gayle and Rahul did just that and once again the opening pair put on a 50 run partnership. Just when they were looking ominous, the left handed Gayle was dismissed off his country mate Andre Russell with a quick and well directed short ball.
Meanwhile Rahul was going strong at the other end with some crisp hititng and in the process crossed 500 runs in IPL 2018, his first time in a season.
The key to defending a huge score in these conditions is to take wickets and that’s exactly what KKR were managing to do. Andre Russell was having a great time with the ball, pricing out the wickets of Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair. The medium pacer had a clear strategy to bang the ball into the wicket and that proved a good option on that track.
When Rahul was dismissed off Narine, it was almost over for Ashwin’s men but the Kings XI batsmen kept swinging the bat and in the end reduced the defeat margin to only 31 runs which meant their NRR didnt take a huge beating.
It was a different strategy from DK to use his pace bowlers up front apart from Narine, who opened the innings. Usually KKR use a lot of spin options in the powerplay but Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla were introduced only after 11 overs when the top order was back in the dugout. Kolkata Knight Riders got the valuable 2 points from the game and keep their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs very much alive. They needed this win, especially after the drubbing against Mumbai Indians in the previous game.
For his whirlwind 36-ball 75, Sunil Narine was adjudged the man of the match.