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Batting woes plague KKR amidst another loss

Kolkata Knight Riders, besides a change in the leadership, were expecting a change of fortunes against Mumbai Indians on Friday. But a batting collapse led the side to their second successive defeat in the Dream XI IPL 2020. The 8-wicket win took Mumbai to the top of the points table while KKR remained in the fourth spot.

The Abu Dhabi turf has been getting slower with time and it was evident from the struggles of the KKR batsmen. Batting first always seemed to be the best decision in the UAE conditions. But on Friday, nothing worked in favour of the Knights. Barring Pat Cummins’ 36-ball 53* and the newly-appointed captain Eoin Morgan’s patient 29-ball 39*, there was nothing prominent KKR could flash on the scorecard.

Wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, and by the midway, KKR had already lost half of their side for just 61 runs. Shubman Gill (21 off 23), Rahul Tripathi (7 off 9), Nitish Rana (5 off 6), and Dinesh Karthik (4 off 8) barely could stand the onslaught of the Mumbai bowlers. Rahul Chahar (2-18) with his leg spin, in particular, looked ominous, picking up the precious wickets of Gill and Karthik in two consecutive balls. Andre Russell (12 off 9) again played a couple of good-looking shots before being done away with by a well-directed short delivery from Jaspreet Bumrah.

Had it not been for the grit of Cummins and Morgan, KKR would have not even reached 148/5. Their 87-run partnership saved KKR from a complete batting disaster. Cummins, specifically, looked effortless and found the meat of the bat for most of his shots. Even when all other batsmen failed to crack open the Mumbai bowlers, Cummins played big shots fluently and continued to rotate the strike with the skipper. A late burst from the duo gave KKR a somewhat defendable total on a sluggish track. However, Mumbai barely broke a sweat to achieve the target with the in-form Quinton de Kock sealing the win with another swashbuckling knock of 78* off 44 balls.

“We weren’t even at the races today. We got a score to bowl at in the end, but the way Mumbai got off, it’s tough to stop them. Given the match-ups, we were trying to play our best hand there. Today it didn’t make that much of a difference; we were all in early,” said Morgan, reflecting on the loss.

“With the bat early on, I think we made a few mistakes. I thought Mumbai Indians bowled really well and proved exactly why they are one of the in-form teams in the tournament so far. And from here on, we have a few areas of improvement to make strides on. We have just crossed the halfway stage of the tournament and there is no better time to turn things around,” he added.

KKR will now face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, looking for a crucial win to stay in the top 4. Even though SRH are still 2 points behind us, they have a better Net Run Rate than ours, which means only a win can keep us in the top half of the table.