IPL 2021 (second phase): Analysis of Kolkata Knight Riders
The second phase of the 2021 Indian Premier League is set to commence on September 19. Kolkata Knight Riders will resume their campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore a day later at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. The Eoin Morgan-led side won just two matches in the first half held in April-May. They would hope for a turnaround in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Kolkata Knight Riders started off with a 10-run win against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. They then lost four back-to-back games to Mumbai Indians, RCB, Chennai Super Kings, and Rajasthan Royals respectively. Thereafter, KKR claimed a five-wicket win over Punjab Kings before losing to Delhi Capitals. Their following clash against RCB was rescheduled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
KKR presently occupy the seventh spot on the points table with four points. They have won two and lost five matches. KKR have a NRR of -0.494. They are followed by SRH, who have won just a single encounter as of now.
Kolkata Knight Riders will have to win most of their remaining matches in order to qualify for the playoffs. Another defeat might derail their campaign. KKR had a similar run in 2020 and 2019 where they missed the playoff berth by a whisker. Kolkata last qualified for the last four in 2018. They had lost to SRH in the Qualifier 2.
KKR seem to be lagging behind on the batting front. Top-order batsman Nitish Rana is their highest run-scorer so far. He has scored 201 runs from seven matches at an average of 28.71. He has a strike-rate of 122.56. In the bowling segment, Australia's Pat Cummins leads the tally. He has picked up nine wickets at an average of 26.33 (best: 3/24).
Kolkata have signed veteran New Zealand pacer Tim Southee for the remaining matches. Southee replaces Cummins, who had earlier pulled out of the IPL's second leg, citing personal reasons. The right-arm pacer had previously represented the CSK, MI, and the RCB. He is expected to lead the KKR pace attack. Southee has snapped up 28 wickets from 40 IPL games.