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Skipper knocks and Narine's foxy bowling stand out in KKR march

Saba Nayakan | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 20, 2012

Shining through: Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine and Gautam Gambhir celebrate after a scalping a Mumbai Indians batsman in Mumbai on Wednesday. Of all the players of KKR, the skipper’s superlative batting and Narine’s deceptive deliveries stood out.

Having lost the first two matches of the DLF-IPL V, the Kolkata Knight Riders has finished second in the league stage, proving the team's resilience in a highly charged atmosphere.

KKR earned 21 points from 10 wins and five losses but one no-result has really hurt the team as its home match against the bottom-placed Deccan Chargers was abandoned owing to rain.

Two outstanding individual efforts were the highlights of KKR's 16-match league phase. If it was captain Gautam Gambhir's superlative batting that was instrumental in setting up many victories, West Indian ‘mystery spinner' Sunil Narine, named after the legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar, was almost unplayable.

Both won three Man-of-the-Match awards apiece out of the team's 11 clearly shows the influence of the duo in KKR's march towards finishing second best in the league stage.

Gambhir alone contributed 556 runs in 15 matches with 260 runs coming from home games and 296 from away matches. His highest was 93. He stood the third best individual scorer in the league phase just behind Chris Gayle of Royal Challengers Bangalore (706) and Shikhar Dhawan of Deccan Chargers (564).

Six 50s and one not-out meant Gambhir literally carried the team's burden on his shoulders.

Narine's mystery was to use the fingers and the wrist to control the movement of the ball both ways. He bowled smartly to fox the batsmen to annex a whooping 22 wickets with the best strike rate of this phase. He bowled 51.1 overs with one maiden. Narine conceded 263 runs with high success rate in away matches. He picked up 10 wickets for 107 runs in six home matches while he earned 12 scalps conceding 156 runs in seven away ties.

The team needed more contributions from Brendon McCullum at the top of the order than the 258 from 11 games, in which he scored 131 at home and 127 in away games with 56 as his highest.

Jacques Kallis was a big let down from the team's point of view. The South

African played in all the 15 encounters and contributed only 310 with the bat. His highest was 79. He captured 12 wickets giving away 345 runs. His four wickets at home cost him 191 runs and the other eight wickets came in away games giving away 154 runs.

The biggest flop show was Yusuf Pathan. Known as game changer, Pathan failed to make an impact other than contributing small scores. He contributed 153 runs from 14 innings and his off-spinners made little impact.

Manoj Tiwary's 251 from 14 innings did not justify his presence in the team. He excelled as a fielder but the Bengal captain was capable of contributing more. He struggled on slow home pitches getting only 78 runs and contributed 161 in away matches with the highest of 59 coming at Jaipur.

Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan was the most under-utilised player of KKR. Coming to the tournament with the tag of being the world's best all-rounder, this left-hander got to play only six games in which he contributed 79 runs. His 10 wickets cost him 134 runs with three for 17 being his best. His quick-fire 42 on a dubious track at Pune in the final game was his best. He picked up two Man-of-the-Match awards.

With Aussie Brett Lee contributing very little with the ball, Gambhir could have turned towards the Bangladeshi all-rounder. Lee's 42 runs from three innings and seven wickets for 257 in six matches with two for 26 being his best. How much impact these figures made to the team's success can be debatable.

All of Balaji's 10 wickets came in away games conceding 91 runs in five matches. His best was four for 18. Had not an injury laid him low he could have contributed more. Rajat Bhatia's 11 for 350 in 15 matches provided the team vital breakthroughs.

>saba@thehindu.co.in

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Published on May 20, 2012
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