IPL 2021 Uncelebrated batsmen Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi produced stellar knocks to fuel Kolkata Knight Riders to a steep total of 187/6 on a slow surface before they consigned Sunrisers Hyderabad to a 10-run defeat, in the process exposing their vulnerabilities. Though the margin of victory was relatively slim, the gulf in quality between the sides was sizeable.
IPL 2021 Finding new strength
A perceivably low-profile top order was suggested as Kolkata Knight Riders’ glaring vulnerability in the build-up. Most other sides have stacked the top three with big names and bigger hitters.
But Kolkata Knight Riders top order wears a thin look — a talented youngster who is yet to blossom into the world-conquering batsman he’s touted to be, paired by a pugnacious but not prolific left-hander, followed by a stylish but woefully inconsistent stroke-maker. Their real batting, even their ardent fans would admit, begins with the middle order — with the proven quartet of Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan, Dinesh Karthik, and Andre Russell.
But on Sunday, the least celebrated of them, Rana and Tripathi put on a scintillating show of explosive, largely risk-free batting. Rana was all power and precision, Tripathi was all timing and placement. Together, with their contrasting styles, they build impetus and a foundation to post a competitive total at a venue where daunting scores have been difficult to come by.
IPL 2021 Kolkata Knight Riders Rana was determined from the start and ruthless on anything with the slightest of width. His base was set up accordingly. Low in his stance, minimalistic in his movements, he waits for the ball and if it’s in his slot, full and outside off-stump, he gives it a mighty thump, generating incredible power from his bat-swing. Sandeep Sharma, the most prolific Powerplay bowler in the league, just about erred on the fifth stump and Rana was onto it in a flash. Bhuvneshwar Kumar pitched one full, striving for movement, and Rana blazed it through the covers.