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IPL 2019 | I Opened Only Because of Narine's Injury: Rana

Delhi's one-day and T20 skipper Nitish Rana got his and Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL 12 campaign off to a flying start with a 47-ball 68 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a six-wicket win at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. Rana, who was rushed to the top of the order after an injury to Sunil Narine, blazed his sixth IPL half-century to lay down the platform for Andre Russell to chase down the 182-run target.

Cricketnext Staff |March 27, 2019, 2:54 PM IST
IPL 2019 | I Opened Only Because of Narine's Injury: Rana

Delhi's one-day and T20 skipper Nitish Rana got his and Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL 12 campaign off to a flying start with a 47-ball 68 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a six-wicket win at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. Rana, who was rushed to the top of the order after an injury to Sunil Narine, blazed his sixth IPL half-century to lay down the platform for Andre Russell to chase down the 182-run target.

“Honestly, for me winning is very important and as far as the finisher’s role is concerned, we have a big finisher in (Andre) Russell and DK (Dinesh Karthik) although he got out and was not there till the end. Somewhere in my mind, I thought to bat as long and as deep as possible since I knew they had two left-arm spinners and a leg-spinner whom I could attack. Since Sunil (Narine) injured his hand he was not going to bat, that means I was the only left-handed batsman left,” Rana was quoted as saying by the KKR official website.

The Delhi southpaw usually bats in the middle-order but Narine’s injured hand gave him an opportunity in the opening slot.

“I never knew I was going to open the innings although I have opened in the practice games which we played before the season starts. But it was only because of his (Narine’s) injury that I had to open,” he said about opening the batting for KKR.

When Rana was dismissed in the 16th over, KKR still needed 65 runs in 4.3 overs but Russell’s unbeaten 19-ball 49 eased them to a win.

“I just cannot describe it in words. It was just unbelievable batting and the kind of sixes he hit were just insane. We needed almost 52 in 18 and we still won with two balls to spare. We know he is capable of doing it and has done it before several times. That was our game plan - to take the game deep and then leave the rest on Russell to finish it,” Rana said about Russell’s power-hitting.

Rana would have liked to carry on to the end of the innings but the floodlight failure at the Eden Gardens disturbed his rhythm in the middle.

“Yes, you can say that because I had a game plan in my mind and suddenly the lights went off, I didn’t know something like that could happen and when I came back to the dressing room, I went into a shell and that pause did affect my game.

"Maybe if there was no break then I might have finished the game myself,” he said.

One of Rana’s tasks in the middle against Sunrisers was tackling their premier leg-spinner Rashid Khan.

“I had played Rashid Khan for a good three overs before and compared to a right-handed batsman, it was easier for me to play him and I knew I could hit him. We had decided that if I get the opportunity I will take on Rashid and Russell will take his chances against the fast bowlers,” he said.

The 25-year-old felt it was a mistake giving left-arm spinner Shakib al Hasan the final over in the game with 13 still needed to win.

“I personally think they did a mistake by giving a left-arm spinner the last over as on such kind of a wicket, you can’t bowl a spinner in the last over when batsmen like Russell and Shubman are at the crease,” he said.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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