Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Eoin Morgan has reiterated that it’s not just man-in-form Venkatesh Iyer that has changed the fortunes of his side, but the bowling attack as a whole. KKR on Thursday comprehensively beat the Mumbai Indians (MI) by seven wickets to move into the top four of IPL 2021.
While 26-year-old Iyer has set the UAE leg ablaze with 94 runs in his first two games, Morgan believes his bowlers have been the heroes in both the wins so far. He added that restricting the opposition to modest totals gave KKR’s openers the freedom to play their natural game.
“I don’t think it’s one player that has changed the outlook of the team. I think [in] the last two games the superstars in our side have been the bowlers, they have been outstanding on really good wickets to bat on here in Abu Dhabi, and I think that allowed our opening pair of Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer to go out and play their natural game.
“I think Venkatesh played an innings today that would match a guy who’s played 50 IPL games. The freedom in which he played was quite imposing as a batsman of the top of the order to be able to do that, and today was no different – he’s continued on his form from the first day,” the KKR and England limited-overs skipper said at the post-match press conference.
In their opening match after the resumption, the KKR bowlers skittled out the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a paltry 92, before Iyer (41* off 27) and Gill (48 off 34) helped polish off the target within 10 overs.
Riding on the confidence the win provided, the KKR bowling department tonight kept their nemesis MI down to a mediocre total of 155 for 6. And it was again Iyer (53 off 30) who got the Kolkata-based outfit off to a flying start, before Rahul Tripathi (74* off 42) saw them over the line.
“We had good games both with strategy and planning” – KKR skipper
Spin has played a massive role in KKR’s success in the second half of IPL 2021. The duo of Varun Chakravarthy (3 for 13) and Sunil Narine (0 for 20) broke RCB’s back in the last game.
Tonight, though, was a story of slow killing. Chakravarthy (0 for 22) and Man of the Match Narine (1 for 20) bowled themselves out within 12 overs, but they ensured Rohit Sharma’s team managed only 37 runs in a period of seven overs after scoring 56 runs in the powerplay.
Quizzed if it was a strategy to bowl spin in the middle overs, Morgan didn’t give any insight into the move but expressed satisfaction at their strategies coming to fruition lately.
“I think there is a lot of preparation and strategy that go into the decisions that are made on the field. Of course when you are on the field, you need to adjust to what’s happening with the pitch and conditions here at Abu Dhabi.
“And I think we had good games both with strategy and planning because the bowlers have executed unbelievable well, they have been in fine form, they have managed to do that and make the rest our preparation look really good,” the KKR captain said in response to Sportskeeda’s question.
Resuming the season in seventh spot, KKR have gained enough momentum to break into the top four. They have won four out of nine games played, with a third-best net run rate of +0.363 to boot.