Mumbai Indians continued their great run in IPL 2020, winning their fifth game in a row by defeating Kolkata Knight Riders by a comprehensive margin of eight wickets in match number 32 at Abu Dhabi. KKR getting a new captain in Eoin Morgan, with Dinesh Karthik stepping down, did not change the team’s fortunes as they put up a rather ordinary performance. Batting first after winning the toss, KKR put up an unimpressive show, managing only 148 for 5. It could have been worse for KKR had Pat Cummins not rescued them with a fifty. The target was too easy for a star-studded batting line though as MI won with ease. With Kolkata succumbing to another loss, we analyse three big mistakes they made in the game.
1. Shubman Gill’s crawl
Young KKR opener Shubman Gill has been among the runs no doubt, and even put in a man-of-the-match winning effort earlier in the tournament. But, his strike rate has been a concern all through. In eight matches, Gill has managed an impressive tally of 275 runs with two fifties, but his runs have come at a strike rate of 116.52. Against Mumbai, his slow batting proved very costly for KKR. Gill hung around for 21 from 22 deliveries and, off the next ball, perished trying to take on Rahul Chahar unsuccessfully.
Gill’s dismissal came in the eighth over and, even by that time, KKR had only reached 42. A score of under 50 in eight overs is considered below par even in present 50-over contests, so one can gauge how far behind KKR had fallen in the game. Gill has the talent no doubt and has even been consistent. However, he needs to work on improving his strike rate for sure.
2. Rana and Russell’s short ball woes
Nitish Rana and Andre Russell have been highly disappointing for KKR in the event this year. But, what has been worrying is the fact that the duo has been exposed, falling to similar strokes. Both have struggled against the short ball, and teams have targeted them with the rising deliveries. On Friday as well, both Rana and Russell let the team down with forgettable strokes. Rana tried to get inside the line of a bouncer from Nathan Coulter-Nile. However, all he managed was to glove the ball to the keeper.
Coming in at number six again, Russell tried to duck away from a bouncer from Jasprit Bumrah. However, he couldn’t get out of the way of the well-directed short ball and only managed to lob another easy catch behind the wickets. Further, Karthik, who relinquished his captaincy prior to the game, also repeated his mistake from the previous match. The wicket-keeper batsman tried to lap a wide delivery from Rahul Chahar, but only managed to guide it back to the stumps. The dismissal was a near carbon copy of the way he got out against Yuzvendra Chahal.
3. KKR bowling no match for MI
Thanks to Cummins’ blast towards the end of KKR’s innings, they would have gone in with some level of confidence while defending their score. But, none of it was on display on the field as Cummins himself and Prasidh Krishna sprayed the ball all over the pace. None of the KKR bowlers could exercise any sort of control during their spells, as a result of which Mumbai sped away in the chase. By the end of the Power Play (6th over), Mumbai had raced to 51 without the loss of a wicket. And, by the time KKR got their first wicket, sending back MI skipper Rohit Sharma for 35, Mumbai had reached 94 in the 11th over. There was no way back for KKR, and the bowlers just went through the motions as MI eased to yet another triumph.