Kolkata Knight Riders Season Review – Rinku Singh Stands Tall Amid Ruins

Photo Source: IPL/BCCI

It was a rather underwhelming Indian Premier League (IPL) season for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). They flattered to deceive, and were never really among the contenders to make it to the playoffs. Here is more about this…

What we predicted

Well, what we predicted was that they have a frail batting unit. They may have a few batters who would come good on their days, but as a unit they would have problems. This assumption was based on the composition of their line-up. There were power-hitters but no specialist who could carry the load. Nitish Rana was the only one, and he did reasonably well. But clearly, the load on him was too much.

Where they finished

A pretty disappointing seventh among 10 teams. We might also say that given the kind of squad they had, this was expected. The bowling was not that bad, at least on paper. But they had to sacrifice their overseas fast bowlers to strengthen their batting. In the end, that cost them dear. Two rookie fast bowlers — Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana — opening the bowling was a bit too awkward. Not taking anything away from them. They did their best. But for the team, this was not enough.

Also Read: A Limp Season and No Local Connect – KKR in 2023

What went right

Very little. Rahmutullah Gurbaz came good on a couple of occasions. So did Jason Roy. Captain Rana also chipped in. The only thing that went totally right was Rinku Singh. He was spellbinding. This kind of consistency, under pressure, mostly while chasing, was unbelievable. The five sixes off the last five balls of the match against Gujarat Titans, everybody will remember. But the point about this left-handed batter from Uttar Pradesh was his ability to deliver under pressure all the time. Remember the chase against Chennai Super Kings? He did not go for pyrotechnics and focussed on running between the wickets, which was the need of the hour. We are going to see more of him.

What went wrong

Quite a few things. Squad selection to begin with. There was not adequate depth in batting and not sufficient resources in bowling to make up for that. Yes, the bowlers did perform in patches and matches, but the collective effort was below-par. The necessity to sacrifice the overseas fast bowlers to make up for deficiencies in batting turned out to be crucial and decisive. The performance of high-profile buys like Andre Russell and Sunil Narine hurt them the most. Both played almost all the matches, but barring stray incidents, did not make an impact. This was a killer blow, because these two were the most-trusted players.

Saving grace

No marks for guessing. This was Rinku, who most likely ensured that he will have a long-standing relationship with this franchise and become a sought-after entity for all others. This was a fabulous campaign. He came out to bat in extreme-pressure situations on most occasions. Run rates were spiralling when he came out, and he delivered almost every time. Some insane and correct hitting was this. What we see in T20s often is unorthodox wielding of the bat. What Rinku displayed was not that far away from the textbook. He knew what was to be done, and went about his task in a fairly orthodox style. Super show!

Flop show

The tried-and-tested fast-bowling unit. Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson. Look at their economy rates and wicket-taking. Umesh took one wicket in eight matches at 9.94 an over. Southee and Ferguson could not be fielded that often because they were pathetic in the rare appearances they made. Southee played two matches, took two wickets and went for 13.16 an over. Ferguson, one of KKR’s costlier buys, could only be played in three games where he took one wicket at an economy rate of 12.52. This pace-bowling unit was the biggest let-down for KKR. The spinners did far better.

Also Read: Narine and Russell Struggles At Heart of KKR Woes

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