The IPL has been dishing out greatly entertaining matches one after the other. Yesterday Kolkata Knight Riders were poised to take on Delhi in an IPL double-header. The expectation from the match was Delhi steamrolling KKR with a thumping win. However, what transpired was starkly different. Delhi’s batting never got going and no batsman could click.
They managed just 127 runs in their 20 overs. The Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers did a splendid job and this may have seemed to be an uninspiring total but on a slow tricky wicket, it was still daunting. The KKR batting was up to the task. Apart from Morgan, the batsmen performed relatively well and Rana was clinical in getting the team across the line.
Read more: 5 Players You Never Knew Played for KKR
The performance from KKR was not a one-off. This resurgence of the team in the UAE leg has more context to it. The team is playing differently and may just be a surprise package by ending up winning the trophy.
We look at 5 reasons why KKR can legitimately spring up a twist or two and end up adding their third trophy in the cabinet.
1. A tournament of two halves
KKR’s journey in this season’s IPL is to be viewed in two phases. One is their performance in India’s leg and the other in the UAE leg. Of the 7 games played in India, they managed to win just 2. However, a different KKR turned up in UAE. They have snapped up 3 wins in the 4 games played in UAE thus far. They have also won against the bigger and mightier franchises like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.
It is not important to see where Kolkata Knight Rider stand on the points table but to view that in the context of how they have reached it. As mentioned above, KKR won their 3 games out of 4 in UAE. These wins came against teams like Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. They won against Bangalore by 9 wickets and against Mumbai by 7 wickets. These games have not just delivered wins but the wins have come effortlessly. These wins would add a great deal of confidence and improve the mood in the camp. It would catalyze the team to go for glory.
3. Important Performances by Indian players
The young players have started to deliver for KKR. Players like Gill and Rana were struggling in the India’s leg but Gill was pivotal in their win against RCB. Similarly, yesterday when KKR lost a few quick wickets in the middle, Rana held his nerve and played sublime shots to get the team over the line. Players like Varun Chakravarthy and Venkatesh Iyer have helped the overall team’s efforts.
4. Putting up a strong show without their top stars
To have Kolkata Knight Riders cross the line against Delhi Capitals without the services of Andre Russel is a big deal. On a slow pitch, Russel’s might to power the ball over the fence would have been critical. However, Rana ensured that neither was his services required nor were they missed. Similarly, their bowling was centered heavily around Pat Cummins in India’s leg. However, KKR has made peace with the fact that he is not part of the team in the UAE leg and has smoothly integrated the services of Lockie Ferguson instead.
5. Finding the perfect team balance
KKR was suffering from the spell of getting their team combination horribly wrong. In the India’s leg, their batsmen did not click yet they did not make any adjustments. The team was heavily reliant on the likes of Cummins and Russel to deliver. On this leg, trust has been placed on youngsters like Venkatesh Iyer and this has paid off. Narine has also started to show glimpses of his old self be it with the ball or as a pinch hitter. Overall, expect Morgan’s worrying form, KKR seem to have all bases covered.