Maha Durgashtami has turned out to be a really special day for Kolkata Knight Riders. Eoin Morgan and his boys rode on Varun Chakravarthy’s fifer to register a huge 59-run win against Delhi Capitals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday and consolidate their place in the Top 4 of Dream XI IPL 2020. KKR now have 12 points from 11 matches with a net run rate of -0.476.
There were a couple of takeaways for KKR from the batting point of view. The first being Sunil Narine finally making a comeback with a quickfire 32-ball 64 and the other being Nitish Rana converting his start into a big score. The KKR think tank surprised many as they sent in Rana to open the batting with Shubman Gill. The risk certainly paid off as the left-hander went on to score a commendable 53-ball 81 to guide Kolkata to 194/6. Rana dedicated the knock to his father-in-law, who passed away yesterday.
“I think he (Rana) showed unbelievable character to come through adversity, particularly when it’s about family. He continues to grieve at this moment but trying to channel exactly what he is trying to do and churning out runs is a huge credit to him,” Skipper Morgan said.
At one point, KKR were 42/3 after 7 overs and it looked like there might be another slide on the cards. However, Rana, along with Narine, took on the bowlers and stitched a 56-ball 115-run partnership to push Delhi on the back foot. Narine, in particular, looked at his devastating best after a long time. He mostly found the sweet spot and continued to ravage the Delhi bowlers, clobbering four 6s and six 4s en route to his 64.
On Saturday, the KKR bowling unit fired cohesively. Pat Cummins (3/17) and Varun Chakravarthy (5/20) registered their IPL best bowling figures. While Cummins will be glad to be getting back into his wicket-taking habit, Chakravarthy will also be content to be finally reaping the rewards for his consistency.
“This (tonight’s performance) is surreal. Last few games I didn’t get wickets. I wanted to get one or two wickets today but thank god I got five wickets! Today I just decided to attack the stumps,” Chakravarthy said after the match.
Delhi’s otherwise strong batting line-up fell like a house of cards today, losing wickets at regular intervals. Skipper Shreyas Iyer (47 off 38) and Rishabh Pant (27 off 33) showed some resistance but Chakravarthy ran riot through the middle order, plucking out the two along with Shimron Hetmyer (10), Marcus Stoinis (6) and Axar Patel (9).
Talking about KKR’s “mystery bowler”, captain Morgan said, “Varun Chakravarthy is such a humble guy. He goes about his business very seamlessly. He has worked really hard and throughout the tournament he has been a standout performer. He has been one of the positive stories of our campaign so far.” Morgan also called out Saturday’s show as the “most complete performance” from KKR, “the timing of which couldn’t be any better”.
Saturday’s win, indeed, has added a lot of sheen to Kolkata’s Durga Puja festivity. We next face Kings XI Punjab on Dashami, October 26, and can certainly hope that Goddess Durga will send our way another win as a parting gift.