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IPL 2021: Morgan, Bowlers Help KKR Get Back To Winning Ways

Kolkata Knight Riders 126 for 5 (Morgan 47*, Tripathi 41, Henriques 1-5) beat Punjab Kings 123 for 9 (Agarwal 31, Jordan 30, Krishna 3-30, Narine 2-22) by five wickets

A valiant 66-run partnership between Eoin Morgan and Rahul Tripathi while chasing and a fantastic performance from the bowlers in the first innings helped KKR climb from the bottom of the table to the fifth position on Monday.

KKR bowled well to restrict Punjab Kings to a paltry 123 in the first innings. In response, KKR faltered at the start, but, skipper Eoin Morgan (47*) made sure he stays till the end and takes the team over the victory line.

Here’s a look at all the talking points from the game

Top Effort From KKR Bowlers

The surface at Motera Stadium is conducive to seamers and it was quite evident. KKR seamers consistently pitched at good length and found a lot of assistance. They made life tough for the batsmen right from the start. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal struggled to play at a brisk pace in the powerplay overs. In a bid to accelerate, KL Rahul (19) was caught off Cummins while playing over mid-on. Once he departed, wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals.

Shivam Mavi bowled an outstanding opening spell and completed his quota of four overs inside the first 7 overs. He ended with exceptional figures of 1 for 13 in 4 overs. He gave KKR the important breakthrough of Chris Gayle (0). Prasidh Krishna came out to bowl the 8th over and struck in his first over, with Deepak Hooda hitting a full-length ball straight to Morgan at Point.

Morgan introduced spin from both ends from the 11th over onwards. The batsman found it tough to read a lot of deliveries from two mystery spinners. Between the 11th and 15th over, the duo picked three wickets and dented Punjab’s hope of posting a big total. Chris Jordan’s 30-run cameo wasn’t enough as Punjab ended up with a below-par total.

This isn’t the first time when Punjab Kings have exhibited a flop show with the bat. They were bundled for 120 runs against SRH at Chepauk. Middle-order has been the cause of concern for Kings on both occasions.

Eoin Morgan - Skipper Standing Up To The Occasion

Kolkata Knight Riders could have made a mess of a small chase had Eoin Morgan too got out early on Monday. Before the game on Monday, Morgan had scores of 2, 7, 29, 7, 0. It was important for the KKR skipper to overcome his poor form and get back amongst the runs. With the team reeling at 17 for 3, this wasn’t the ideal situation for him to come and play with freedom.

However, Morgan looked adamant to steer the chase. He rarely played a loose shot and let Tripathi be the aggressor in the match-changing fourth-wicket partnership. After Rahul Tripathi (41) and Andre Russell (10) got out, Morgan hit a four and a six to Deepak Hooda in the 17th over to seal the win. He played an unbeaten knock of 47 runs off 40 balls, helped KKR win their second game this season.

Shubman Gill and Andre Rusell’s Form A Concern For KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders is a franchise that has no shortage of talent. However, the performances have been underperforming so far. The biggest concern for them right now is Shubman Gill and Andre Russell’s poor form with the bat. There is no denying that Shubman Gill is a world-class batsman, however, the 21-year old hasn’t made his mark this year. Every time he has tried to accelerate, he has found out the fielders.

Runs aren’t coming from Andre Russell’s bat either. Except for the stunning knock against Chennai, Russell hasn’t looked at ease this year. Coming down so late in the batting order hasn’t helped either.

The duo ought to put their bad form behind and soon pull up their socks. Otherwise, KKR might miss the flight for the playoffs for the second consecutive time.

Questions To Be Answered

Narine at 5 or after Karthik and Russell at 8?

Sunil Narine coming into bat and wreaking havoc is now a thing of the past. The southpaw hasn’t been able to replicate those performances. Instead, he has rather slowed things downs. KKR might have won the game but would it be reasonable to make him bat at five before Karthik and Russell?

Dawid Malan in place of Pooran?

Nicholas Pooran has played five games and is yet to play a crucial knock for the side. With Punjab not doing too well, would it be wise to persist with him or replace him with Dawid Malan?

What Lies Ahead For Both Sides

Punjab must do some changes in the batting order and make sure they hit the ground running with a better batting line in their next game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.

After losing three consecutive games, Kolkata Knight Riders are back to winning ways. They wouldn't want to lose the winning momentum from here and would look to win their next game against Delhi Capitals on Thursday.


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