IPL 2020, Match 8: Talking points as KKR beat SRH
This was Kolkata Knight Riders' first win of the tournament, having lost their opening game to defending champions Mumbai Indians. KKR are looking to win their third title. Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad are still in the hunt for their opening win this season.
In what turned out to be a low-scoring match, former two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) outlasted fellow former champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), in Match 8 of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). Being played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, KKR sailed to a comfortable seven-wicket win, thanks to Shubman Gill's sensible knock of 70.
Match report: Winning the toss, SRH skipper David Warner shockingly chose to bat first. The decision did not go well as the KKR bowlers pressed hard early on, and the side could manage just 40 runs in the powerplay. The spinners continued to bowl tight, hardly giving any room to the SRH batsmen to open up. With Manish Pandey scoring 51, they posted a below-par total of 142/4.
In reply, KKR were off to a shaky start, losing three wickets by the seventh over. Nonetheless, it was the pair of Gill, along with Eoin Morgan, that ensured KKR did not goof things up. SRH used six different bowlers, but Gill's patience got the better of them, as KKR comfortably cruised to their opening win of the season, with 12 balls to spare. Meanwhile, let us have a look at the top talking points.
Handing Pat Cummins the new ball worked: Cummins was pretty expensive in the last game. However, Dinesh Karthik not just decided to show faith in him, but also handed him the new ball. It worked, as he bowled three overs during the powerplay and claimed 1/11 in the phase. This put immediate pressure on SRH, as they were 40/1 after the six powerplay overs.
SRH were not ready for Varun Chakravarthy: While Chakravarthy's debut was a welcome sign for most of the fans, the SRH dugout certainly did not embrace it. The reason was evident, as the batsmen struggled to score, while his spell of 1/25 was definitely impressive, in terms of a debutant. KKR should stick to him for now.
SRH's middle-order lacking the punch: Another notable observation from SRH's point of view is that their middle-order is lacking enough thrust to accelerate the innings. This is where the inclusion of Kane Williamson comes in. Warner would surely be backing him in the next match, who can anchor the innings, especially in the middle overs.
KKR should stop over-using Sunil Narine as a regular opener: It has been quite some time now that KKR have been using their mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, as an opening batsman. While it worked initially, especially under Gautam Gambhir's captaincy, it must be noted that he would not always fire. Thus, pushing in Nitish Rana, along with Gill, would be a better and viable option. Narine should be reserved for the slot for some matches instead.
Eoin Morgan displays his class against spin: Morgan has always been known as the best player of spin in world cricket currently. Although KKR had no idea that the tournament would be held in the slow tracks of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this season, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Morgan's act of tackling the dangerous Rashid Khan, along with supporting Gill throughout, once again proved his class.
Gill- KKR's Mr Dependable: When we talk about Mr Dependable, Rahul Dravid is the first name that comes to our mind. Nonetheless, Gill is proving to be the same for KKR, as his composed knock of 70 paved the way for a fine victory. Having worked under Dravid at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), he has been proving his worth for the side since the last season. He is most likely to play a pivotal role in their success this season.