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IPL 2021, Kolkata Knight Riders Review: Knights End Amazing Season With Final Flop Show

IPL 2021: KKR players during the IPL Final against CSK.

IPL 2021: KKR players during the IPL Final against CSK.

It was an amazing tournament for KKR, but in the end they were marred with some poor shot selection in Final against Chennai.

Chennai Super Kings might have won the IPL trophy, but it is Kolkata Knight Riders who have won hearts. Eoin Morgan-led side looked a formidable team in the second half of the tournament which was in complete contrast to the first half where they went onto lose five off seven games. Fortunately, they found a breath of fresh air in Venkatesh Iyer who not only batted superbly, but rubbed off his brashness to a side which had almost lost the way.

IPL 2021 Full Coverage | Schedule | Results | Points Tally | Orange Cap | Purple Cap

IPL 2021 Record: Played: 17; Won: 9; Lost: 8; Standing: 2nd.

High point

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Bundling RCB out for just 92 was the biggest high point for KKR this season. As mentioned above, this was their first game in UAE leg and by this time they had lost five off seven. Not only they bowled out RCB to a paltry total, they chased down the runs with nine wickets to spare. It was a statement, a statement which showed what is to come.

Low point

Losing the IPL Final. KKR made it to the summit clash on the back of some refreshing performances. Had they managed to pull it off…it would have made their fans really proud. Instead, they imploded. Chasing 193-run target, they were 90/0 at one stage. Their attitude made the loss even bigger as some reckless batting was on display, especially with the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan who threw their wicket away. They were vastly unprepared on their biggest day.

Captaincy verdict

Morgan’s batting might have bombed, but his captaincy made up for it in the second half. Replacing Nitish Rana with Venkatesh Iyer was a strategic masterstroke for KKR. Lockie Ferguson came to the party and was very well complemented with the presence of slow-ball bowlers. The likes of Varun Chakrawarthy, Sunil Narine were among the breakthroughs regularly and ruled the roost on the slow pitch of Sharjah. Swapping Prasidh Krishna with Shivam Mavi also worked wonders. On the other hand, Morgan dared to drop Andre Russell from the side and replaced him with Shakib Al Hasan. This was his biggest gaffe. A Russell could have made a mark in the big final with asking rate reaching 14! Shakib not only gave away runs, he was out for a duck.

Most valuable player

Venkatesh Iyer. Sometimes a team needs a breath of fresh air. A player, someone from the outside, who would inspire the side with his act. Iyer was just that kind of player. Iyer waited patiently for his chance from the bench and he made an instant impact on debut. Be it Mumbai, or Chennai, this young man from Indore never bothered with the bowler’s reputation, taking the attack to the opposition. Even in the final, he was not looking to hold back. Aggression backed with calculated strokes made him an asset for KKR. He accounted for 370 runs in just ten games with an avg of 41 and a strike rate of 128.

Major disappointment

The captain Eoin Morgan himself. The Irish who led England to a World Cup Trophy could have done better with the bat. One main reason KKR faltered in India was Morgan not scoring at all. Even in UAE, he never looked in form. He scored just 147 runs in 17 games at a horrible average of 11!

Season verdict

Barring IPL Final, it was an impressive season for KKR. It will be remembered in the future for the amazing turnaround and must always inspire them if they find themselves in a spot of bother; nonetheless, it was all not hunky dory as they lost five off seven in India which saw them fail to chase down totals on slow wickets. Even in UAE, they weren’t really fool proof, losing the final in a one-sided manner.

 Statistics

Most runs:  Shubman Gill (381)

Most wickets: Varun Chakrawarthy (21)

Highest individual score: Nitish Rana (80 v SRH)

Best Bowling Figures: Andre Russell (5/15 vs MI)

 

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first published:October 16, 2021, 16:20 IST