IPL 6: Are Kolkata fizzling out in their title defence?

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: April 25, 2013, 11:33 AM IST
IPL 6: Are Kolkata fizzling out in their title defence?

This is not something that the team management of Kolkata Knight Riders had expected when they began their defence of the IPL title. Though they started their campaign with a win, they are in the middle of an extremely bad phase - losing five of their next six matches. And in spite of having world class limited-over spinner in the form of Sunil Narine, they are not ending up in the winning side.

With his three wickets against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, Narine not only became the highest wicket taker in the IPL 6 - beating Royal Challengers Bangalore's R Vinay Kumar, whose 13 wicket have come at 17.84 - but also increased his overall tally to 44 wickets in 26 games, which is the highest by a Kolkata bowler at the IPL.

So why haven't Kolkata managed to win consistently despite Narine picking up wickets for them regularly? Relying on a particular bowler to provide breakthroughs is one thing and over-relying on him is another. And that has been the case with Kolkata this season. They have over-relied on Narine, with none of the other bowlers contributing much. Jacques Kallis is a distant second in the list, with seven wickets in as many matches.

And just like their bowling, their batting too is heavily dependent on the shoulders of team's captain, Gautam Gambhir. The 31-year-old has amassed 286 runs (ave 40.85) in seven matches - the most by a Kolkata batsman at IPL 6, but he is the only one who has made a major contribution with the bat. Eoin Morgan has also played a few crucial knocks, but he lacks consistency. His 194 runs in seven matches although puts him second in scoring chart for his side, he lies way below in the overall batsmen's standings.

So unless the other members of the side contribute to the team's cause, it looks extremely difficult for KKR to change the tide. But they would want Narine and Gambhir to keep doing the good work in the remaining matches as well. Here are some other statistical highlights from the game between Kolkata and Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

* Sunil Narine is the first bowler to take 14 wickets at 11.35 runs apiece in seven matches, bettering R Vinay Kumar's figures of 13 at 17.84 in eight matches. His tally of 38 wickets at 12.71 runs apiece in 22 games is the highest by a Kolkata bowler at the IPL.
* Gambhir has amassed 286 runs (ave 40.85) in seven matches - the most by a Kolkata batsman at the IPL 6.
* Mumbai Indians have won nine and lost two out of eleven played against Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL - success per centage 81.81.
* With 45 catches in 85 matches, Rohit Sharma is the top fielder at the IPL, overtaking Suresh Raina's tally of 44 in 88 matches.
* In the first over of the match, Harbhajan Singh has conceded 26 runs - the second most expensive opening over in the IPL. Mumbai's A N Ahmed had conceded 27 runs in the first over against Bangalore at Chepauk, Chennai on May 27, 2011.
* With 9 wickets at 20.66 runs apiece in six games, Mitchell Johnson is the highest wicket-taker for Mumbai Indians at the IPL 6.
* Dwayne Smith (62 off 45 balls) has recorded his second highest score at the IPL, next only to the 87 not out off 58 balls against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur on May 20, 2012.
* Smith has received his fourth Man of the Match award at the IPL
* Rohit Sharma, with 264 runs at an average of 52.80 in seven games, is the top run-scorer for Mumbai Indians at the IPL 6.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: April 25, 2013, 11:33 AM IST

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