Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders are in a middle-of-the-table gap to make the top four. The Delhi Capitals of Rishabh Pant are aiming for the top of the table. Big game to come.
You can find bullet-by-bullet commentary here in English and here in Hindi. If you’re in the US, you can watch today’s game on ESPN + in English, as well as Hindi.
Rana keeps KKR at No.4
The aggressive approach therefore falls for KKR. They were chasing a total small enough that they could attack hard today, and Nitish Rana played the perfect type of offensive shot today. Facing Lalit Yadav was essential for them, things can get tight if you let the non-regular pitcher get away with his overs. Rana made sure he was taking a calculated risk against him to make sure they didn’t give themselves too much to do despite being at a lower order wicket. In the end, it paid off – despite the wickets falling, they never came under serious pressure.
Narine’s flick, following a first-rate spell to immobilize the Capitals, brought down their resistance completely and contributed to a victory with a decent number of deliveries remaining. The Knight Riders have recognized that they will be in the air combat for fourth place, and it really helps keep their run rate net. This very clean run rate, the best of the four teams that were in that eight-point group before the game, should ensure them to end the day firmly in fourth place. Only a massive margin of victory for Mumbai or the Punjab in today’s game will change that.
With that, I close the live blog for today. Post-game pieces coming soon. Have fun with the next game, where the news is that the Mumbai Indians have abandoned Ishan Kishan.
New year, new Sharjah?
Morgan: My form is not really a concern
Our commentators paraphrased what Eoin Morgan said in today’s draw: “My form” isn’t really “a problem.” It turns like a roller coaster, I try to ride it as best I can.
But a duck in a chase like this could become a cause for concern. He hasn’t hit double digits so far in this IPL season, and in his last ten games (The Hundred included), he hasn’t made a single fifty. It does come with territory sometimes when you beat 4 or later in this format, but Morgan didn’t really seem comfortable during that time. Remember, he replaced Dinesh Karthik as KKR captain. Can they continue longer without running from the new skipper? At least with Russell out, his current form drastically reduces their hitters.
David Hussey said after their last game that Morgan, as captain, would stay in the XI. So things need to change quickly as they go through the playoffs.
What’s going on with Sharjah?
Do you see what I see? Last season was the ground ahead and let go of your stick. Look above for the scores achieved in the first rounds in Sharjah last year. Only four innings gave less than 150. But more than the score itself, it was the promise of arriving at a good wicket on a small field.
It seems to be completely out of the picture for this edition. First three innings so far for a total of eight sixes. None in the opening rounds of the game today, and over six wickets have fallen each time. Is it a blow they take to neutralize the place? Shane Warne had suggested three ways he would improve on T20 cricket last year, and one of them was to use a day 4 pitch instead of a “flat road”. Some clues here from Sharjah going in that direction ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Delhi needs a franchise record
Old fashioned KKR
They have traditionally played with six or seven bowling options, most of which are spinners. They moved away from that strategy early in this phase, starting to use Andre Russell a bit more in the middle of the overs and playing him as a fifth bowler. His injury, of course, forced them to compensate somehow. Southee is a more than practical fifth bowler to have, but Venkatesh Iyer’s clever use effectively made them a six-bowl team and ensured that there were still two overs left from their spinners after the 14th. This is bound to have an effect on how the Capitals finish this round.
The best IPL spinners
The numbers back up what we’ve seen whenever KKR has had their spinners in the middle – they’re simply the best at rolling back a set. The Delhi Capitals’ decision to open Smith did not give a good start. They have completed their slowest fifty of the season and will continue to face rotation for a few more overs now – meaning more risks could be ahead.
Smith to open?
With Shaw injured, it looks like Smith will go straight to his position as opener. Remember, they were only playing three foreign players after Lalit Yadav replaced injured Marcus Stoinis. Smith hasn’t had the best time in the IPL in recent seasons, having had indifferent innings with the Royals before being sacked as captain and then being bought out by the Capitals. He’s played five innings for 104 points so far this season, with a hit rate of just under 112. Let’s see how the break and a power-play chance affects his game. hypothesis that he will open, of course, because he looked cranky in the middle order and the capitals are unlikely to move Iyer and Pant.
Smith as opener in the T20: 4 hostels, 135 trails, 147.67 strike rates
The Kolkata Knight Riders love to play in Abu Dhabi, where only Mumbai Indians have a better IPL record than them. They would have been delighted if their first three matches of the second half had gone there, and it showed. With a new combination and a new approach, they used these conditions and were almost successful three out of three times before Ravindra Jadeja showed up. Still, they are back in contention for the playoffs, sitting in fourth place. But with eight points, they are tied with three others and this is another opportunity to break this deadlock. We’ll have to wait and see if Andre Russell will be available for this after suffering a hamstring injury against Chennai. Even if Tim Southee is given a cap, it seems unlikely.
The Delhi Capitals are much more comfortably placed until the playoffs with 16 points on the board and four games to go. They are hoping that players like Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer get big points in the remaining four games.
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo