Russell and Rinku see KKR Home After Both Ranas Impress

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) once again prevailed in a last-ball finish as they defeated Punjab Kings by five wickets at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Monday. While it was Varun Chakaravarthy’s brilliance with the ball that stole the show in the first innings, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell and Rinku Singh shone with the willow to help KKR to a fifth win of the season, and fifth place in the table. Here are the key takeaways from the game.


Harshit Rana impresses with the new ball

Harshit Rana, now 21, had a tough time cracking Delhi cricket before the Indian Premier League season began. However, he delivered a brilliant opening spell, scalping the big wickets of Prabhsimran Singh and Bhanuka Rajapaksa. While Vaibhav Arora, from the other end, was swinging the ball, Harshit focused on hitting the hard lengths with pace as he troubled both Prabhsimran and Rajapaksa with  deliveries quicker than 140 km/hr. It was due to Harshit’s early wickets that Punjab had a tough time accelerating in the Powerplay. It was definitely a confidence booster for Harshit.

Varun Chakaravarthy back with extra zip

IPL 2022 was perhaps not the best for Chakravarthy in terms of his performances on the field. He struggled with his fitness and lost a bit of pace and zip. This time round, Chakravarthy looks like a different bowler altogether. In a season where Sunil Narine, the lead spinner, has struggled to bag wickets, Chakravarthy has taken up the responsibility of bamboozling the batters with his unpredictability. That is exactly what he did against Punjab. He finished with figures of 3-26 as he spun a web around the Punjab middle order, removing Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma and Rishi Dhawan, stopping an even stronger finish to the innings.

Also Read: Rinku Singh – Remember the Name

Shahrukh Khan finally delivers at the death

Shahrukh Khan, Tamil Nadu’s star finisher, came with a massive reputation from domestic circuit but hasn’t delivered in the same fashion in the IPL. Despite Punjab spending big on the 27 year old, he has been dropped because of his inconsistent returns with the willow. However, against KKR, Shahrukh was in fine touch as he smoked 21 runs off eight deliveries, with three fours and a maximum. If not for the final flourish from him and Harpreet Brar (17* off 9), KKR would have restricted Punjab to around 150, 20 to 30 runs below par at Eden Gardens.

Captain Rana smashes again

Nitish Rana, the KKR skipper, has been in sublime touch in the ongoing IPL, and he hammered 51 off 38 against Punjab to help Kolkata recover from the early dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Rana negated Punjab’s pace threat with aplomb, while also attacking the spinners after the powerplay. It was due to Rana’s injection that Kolkata managed to catch up with the asking rate.

Sam Curran expensive again

Sam, the most expensive player in the history of IPL, has been going through a tough time with the ball for a few matches now. After conceding 41, 38, 46 and 41 in the last four games, Curran went for 24 in the two overs he bowled against KKR. He has been struggling to nail his wide yorkers, which were extremely effective for England during the last T20 World Cup, and his off-cutters are also not coming off. With the likes of Sikandar Raza (two player of the match awards in his last two games) warming the bench, it remains to be seen whether Punjab rest him in their next game. After investing so much, Punjab need him to find form sooner rather than later.

Russell packs a punch

Andre Russell’s form and fitness have been a point of debate among all KKR fans, but against Punjab Kings, he delivered in style. It was not the best day for Russell with the ball, as he conceded 19 in the single over he bowled. But he came out all guns blazing to help KKR get closer to the target. He smashed three sixes and as many fours to end up with 42 off 23 balls. His run-out off the penultimate ball left the stage to Rinku Singh (21* off 10), who swung a full toss  behind square complete a cracking chase.

Also Read: Andre Russell praises KKR, takes dig at Cricket West Indies

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