Nitish Rana was at his very best against Delhi Capitals and guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a comfortable three-wicket victory. The win has been a massive psychological boost for KKR who have momentarily made it out of the logjam involving teams with eight points in the middle of the table. They also have a fine Net Run Rate to their name.
Rana starred for KKR in the run chase and played a knock of 36 not out from 27 balls. His two sixes in the Lalit Yadav over swung the tide of the match in KKR’s favour and Rana also hit the match-winning boundary for his side. Dinesh Karthik was very impressed with the knock from Rana and heaped praise on the Delhi boy. He also mentioned that knocks such as these will help him build a case to be considered for national selection.
“I think he played a really sensible knock. The good thing was he was not out till the end, which was very important for us. Just the way he was able to handle pressure, take on the bowlers that he thought he could take on, and it was very nice to see him mature.
“It is very important he keeps playing innings like this because he is capable of this. The most important thing in his life is, if he wants to get into the national team and make a name for himself, he needs to keep producing these knocks, and he’s definitely got the talent to do it,” Karthik said at the post-match press conference.
As mentioned above, Lalit Yadav’s 14th over proved to be a key highlight of the run chase. Prior to that over, Delhi Capitals had dismissed Shubman Gill and Eoin Morgan and the pressure was increasing on Kolkata Knight Riders.
Despite the fear of failure, Rana decided to attack Yadav’s bowling and plundered 14 runs off the first three deliveries which included two sixes. He then rotated the strike with Dinesh Karthik who also got five runs off the last two balls with the help of a boundary.
The wicket-keeper batter mentioned that it was Rana who was confident to take on Yadav in that over. He also mentioned that the wicket at Sharjah is extremely slow and not fit for T20 cricket. It was harder to hit the spinners than the quick bowlers.
“Yeah I think it was a case of Nitish feeling good, the fact that he could take on a Lalit Yadav, so he backed himself to play those shots. At that stage, what we were discussing was we need to take the game slightly deep, we need to have the right intent – if it’s there, we will go for it; if not, make sure rotate strike if possible.
“It wasn’t an easy rotatable wicket, so to say, but there wasn’t a plan like, “Oh, we need to take on Lalit Yadav”. In fact, it was actually harder to hit the spinners than the fast bowlers,” Karthik said