Former England spinner Graeme Swann said it was surprising to see Kolkata Knight Riders’ lack of intent in Match 18 of IPL 2021 against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. KKR managed just 133 for 9 in 20 overs after being sent into bat at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai where totals in excess of 180 have been regularly posted this season.
Graeme Swann said it seemed as if Kolkata Knight Riders weren’t looking to force the pace by looking for boundaries after the 2-time champions kept losing regular wickets despite not taking too many risks in the first 15 overs. KKR huffed and puffed to 25 for 1 at the end of the powerplay after losing Shubman Gill for just 8 runs despite the Royals dropping the young opener once.
KKR’s decision to send Sunil Narine at No. 4 didn’t work as the pinch-hitter fell for 6. Captain Eoin Morgan, who came in at No. 5, fell for 0 without facing a delivery. Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi got a 33-run stand going but they were not able to impart any momentum into the innings.
KKR were 93 for 4 at the end of 15 overs and they held back Andre Russell, who had hit a quickfire 50 in the previous match. Rusell, who walked into bat in the 16th over, managed just 9 runs as Chris Morris picked up his wicket and removed a well-set Karthik in the same over — the 18th over.
Pat Cummins hit a six in the final over but he was undone by a slower ball from Chris Morris, who finished with figures of 4/23. It was a strange innings from Kolkata as their big guns failed to get going once again.
“Well, I am not sure what his plan was. It certainly wasn’t about being aggressive. You expect them to go out and play aggressively, given they have Brendon McCullum as their coach,” Swann told Star Sports.
“But 25 for 1 in the first 6 overs. Very, very confusing. I mean, the guys bowled well, the lefties (from Rajasthan) bowled well. There was a brilliant run-out as well. But the first 15 overs, it didn’t really seem like KKR were trying to hit boundaries. Very strange but maybe it’s one of those days when things didn’t work for them,” he added.
KKR didn’t use Russell well: Parthiv Patel
Meanwhile, former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel said he was baffled that Kolkata didn’t use Sunil Narine properly despite his fireworks at the same venue a couple of nights ago. Narine hit a six but he was caught in the deep mid-wicket when trying to clear the boundary again in the 18th over against Morris.
“I agree with Swann. There was no intent there. Some of the shots they played, some of the run-outs, it seemed as if they were not looking for runs. In the first 6 overs, you have to take your chances. You can’t just block it out, especially on a wicket like this. They did not utilise Andre Russell. In the kind of form he is, he can’t play only the last 4 overs,” Patel said.
Kolkata Knight Riders headed into Match 18 on the back of three successive defeats. Another loss on Saturday would mean they will slip to the last spot on the 8-team points table.