Kolkata Knight Riders were simply phenomenal in their recent must-win game against Rajasthan Royals. Asked to bat first, the impressive opening duo of Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi gave KKR a composed and confident start once again. The pair added nearly 80 runs for the first wicket inside overs and had already seized control of the game.
Gill continued with his onslaught while Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana played a few handy shots before Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik ended the innings with enough firepower. KKR’s total of 171 on the challenging Sharjah wicket was imposing enough already and by the end, it proved to be more than enough for them to secure a mammoth victory! This 86-run win over RR have all but sealed their spots in the playoff and it has become virtually impossible for defending champions Mumbai Indians to progress further.
At the post-match presentation ceremony, captain Eoin Morgan heaped praise on his openers and added that they have been providing the team with the starts necessary. “I don’t think it could have got better. Losing the toss and batting was difficult. The start we got was fantastic. Gill and Iyer have been our shining light. To get 170 we thought was in a commanding position. A really strong performance today. Having aggressive players coming in in the middle order helped us kick.”
KKR have been able to manage spectacular wins even without the help of their star asset Andre Russell. Dre Russ has missed the last few matches owing to an injury and Eoin Morgan revealed that the Caribbean all-rounder is working hard to regain his fitness and hopefully, he will be able to prove decisive in the knockout games.
“We are taking it day by day [with Russell], so he’s working incredibly hard,” Eoin Morgan added.
This was also confirmed by batting coach David Hussey who mentioned that Russell is on the road to recovery and will be back for the knockout games. “He had a fitness test yesterday, and I think he’s just maybe a game away. So I think he’d be pushing hard over the next few days to get back in for the final, which will be a huge boost not only for us but the competition. He’s world-class and he provides lots of entertainment,” Hussey said.
In the absence of Andre Russell, the purple and gold franchise have found balance with the addition of legendary Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib bowled just a single over but conceded just one run and picked up the wicket of the explosive Yashasvi Jaiswal in that outrageous first over!