The third game of IPL 2021 had ebbs and flow, but Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) eventually managed to coast to a comfortable victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Even though KKR managed to score 187 after being told to bat, it did feel like an underwhelming scoring considering the strong position they were in after 15 overs.
However, strong bowling performances from the pace and spin bowlers made sure that SRH never gained momentum in the decisive period of the chase. David Warner’s team eventually fell short of the target by ten runs. Along with some incredible individual performance, here are important takeaways from KKR’s clinical display on Sunday.
SRH needs more aggressive batting from middle-order batsmen
After being jolted by two early dismissals, SRH needed a rebuild job. This task was firmly executed by Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey by stitching 92 runs partnership. However, both batsmen, particularly Pandey failed to kick on and up the ante. Eating up deliveries by Pandey eventually led to less time on the crease for big hitters like Mohammad Nabi and Abdul Samad.
During his brief cameo, Samad showed what could have been if he had got more deliveries to face. Yesterday’s approach from SRH is perfectly fine when they are chasing 160. However, when the asking rate is close to ten, they need middle-order batsmen to be more aggressive to overhaul such scores.
KKR needs Pat Cummins to find consistency
After getting a big-money move to KKR during IPL 2020 auction, Pat Cummins failed to live up to expectations during last season. He is a world-class bowler who is at the peak of his powers across all formats, so it was surprising to see him struggle in UAE last year.
This season has started on a good note for the Australian bowler as he managed to keep a lid on scoring rate during his spell. He also managed to take the crucial wicket of Bairstow when he was shifting gears. KKR needs Cummins to make sure that this was not a one-off if they want to enjoy a successful season.
Change in approach from KKR visible in the powerplay
Before the start of IPL 2021, Shubman Gill had insisted that KKR has plans in place to score at a good rate in the powerplay. This plan was seen during the game against SRH. Even though Gill got out after scoring 15 runs, he and Nitish Rana made sure that runs were scored freely during their 50 runs opening stand.
Keeping this mindset in every game will be very useful for KKR to qualify for the knockout stages. Despite a poor end to the innings, KKR still had a good score to defend due to the strong start they managed to have during powerplay overs.
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