Pollard and Rohit Sharma hammered all the bowlers of Kolkata Knight Riders. They lost the match due to bad team selection. Kolkata should have kept Morkel and Piyush Chawla in the team.
Kolkata Knight Riders made wrong team selection and lost to Pollard.
Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2016 IPL had lost only to Mumbai Indians. In the return league on 28th April, 2016, again Kolkata knight Riders lost to Mumbai Indians.
Kolkata Knight Riders batted first and scored 174 runs in 20 overs in Wankhede Stadium. Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru are the few stadiums where huge amount of runs are scored. So Kolkata Knight Riders had an uphill task of scoring 200 runs in 20 overs. They were short by 25 runs.
The major reason had been the team selection. In the IPL matches, every team is allowed to play with 4 foreign players.
It was useless to play Lynn and drop Morkel. In the last few matches Morkel had surprised the opponent teams with his bouncy deliveries. Instead Lynn in the slog overs only scored 9 runs in 9 balls.
Gautam Gambhir and Robin Utthappa gave a fantastic start. Robin Utthappa got out in his 30s. But Gautam Gambhir after giving a catch in the early overs went on to score 59 runs.
From there on Kolkata Knight Riders did not get any acceleration. Harbhajan Singh, Mcgleanagen bowled very well to the Kolkata batsmen. Mcgleanagen is wearing the purple cap. He had been the most consistent bowler in the entire tournament.
Suryakant Yadav made a good start but could not continue in the match. He scored 21 runs. The acceleration that was required in the middle overs between 12 to 16 overs was not given by Lynn, Suryakant Yadav and Shakib Al Hassan. It was also a wrong decision to send Shakib Al Hassan after the loss of the 1st wicket. He scored only 7 runs.
To make matters worst, Russel failed in the slog overs. He had the capacity of playing big shots which he had played in the past. In this match he scored few boundaries but got knocked off by a brilliant Yorker of Tim Southee.
At the slog overs Yusuf Pathan had scored few boundaries. But it was not enough to take the score past 200 runs.
It was disgusting score. Kolkata Knight Riders has the strength of talented off-spinners and leg-spinners. In the previous matches Sunil Narine, Shakib al Hassan, Piyush Chawla and Yusuf Pathan had bowled together. It was a bad decision to drop Piyush Chawla and take Unadkat in the match. Unadkat’s pace bowling made no impact to the Mumbai Indians. In fact in one over Rohit Sharma and Rayadu took 19 runs of Unadkat overs.
For the spinners to create pressure, the pace bowlers are required to give good start. Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav in the previous matches had given very good starts. They picked up the opening batsmen, so that the middle order was exposed to the spinners.
In the match in Wankhede Stadium, the bowlers picked up the wicket of Parthiv Patel, but after that the hammering Rohit Sharma and Rayadu gave to Unadkat had destroyed the pressure. On the other hand pressure was on the spinners. Piyush Chawla in the previous matches picked up important wickets with his googly. Kolkata Knight Riders made a mess in not playing Piyush Chawla.
Sunil Narine took two wickets, but the problem was Mumbai Indians already had a bunch of batsmen. After Raidu’s dismissal, Kunal Pandya, then Buttler came in. All these batsmen had capacity of taking the match on their own shoulders and win them individually.
On Thursday’s match, Rohit Sharma and Pollard made the score look very easy. In the last 5 overs, Mumbai Indians required 49 runs. Pollard made the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers look like club cricketers. He smashed the balls to different parts of the field. He remained unbeaten with 51 runs in just 17 balls. He hit 6 over-boundaries and destroyed the bowling attack of Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rohit Sharma was cool and calm. He remained unbeaten on 68 runs and pulled Mumbai Indians home.
There are many learning lessons for Kolkata Knight Riders. They are best when they play with able spinners. At least in every match, they should have Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Shakib Al Hassan in all the matches. There should be a right combination of leg spin and off spin.
Morkel, Russel and Umesh Yadav have to bowl very well in the later matches. Unless the opening batsmen are picked up cheaply the spin attack cannot work out properly.
But the batsmen of Kolkata Knight Riders had not been tested properly. Gautam Gambhir had been the second highest scorer in the IPL tournament this year. Excepting one match, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa gave opening stand of 60 to 70 runs.
But with great opening stand, the other players had not capitalized on the stand. The power hitters like Russel, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakant Yadav had not played to their potentiality. In the semi-finals of World T20 tournament this year, Andre Russel had scored 5 over-boundaries against India. West Indies won the tournament due to massive power hitting of Russel, Bravo and Braithwaite. In the IPL, Russel could not continue that form. He has the capability. If he scores, he can destroy any attack.
It is a blessing in disguise for Mumbai Indians that they lost many matches in the early part of the tournament. They had learned from their mistakes. Firstly Rohit Sharma is required to stay till the 15th over, if Mumbai Indians have to score 180 runs at least.
Mumbai Indians have the luxury of 4 to 5 power hitters including Raidu, Kunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Keiron Pollard and Buttler. So batting is there main strength. In the bowling department Mcgleanagen and Tim Southee had done extremely well. Harbhajan Singh had been the best spinner for Mumbai Indians till now. They require one more good spinner. Kunal Pandya is doing a makeshift job.
After the end of the first round, it is looking like Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers Hyderabad are the favourites. Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bengaluru have the potential of defeating any team but in the first round, they did not show that form till now.
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