KKR’s most complete performance so far, says captain Morgan

Written by Abhishek Patil

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan said his team produced its most ‘complete performance’ of the season so far when it upstaged the fancied Delhi Capitals by 59 runs to bolster their hopes of making it to the IPL play-offs, in Abu Dhabi, on Saturday.

Having suffered a massive defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore after putting up 84/8 in their last outing, KKR bounced back in grand style against the high-flying Delhi Capitals.

Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine stepped up in style to lift them to 194/6 and then Varun Chakravarthy’s five-wicket haul (5/20) along with Pat Cummins’ three-wicket effort choked Delhi.

“I think the timing of this couldn’t be any better. Playing against a side who are second coming towards the business end of the tournament, two points is huge,” Morgan said after the match.

“We had the most complete performance as a group in this tournament so far. Until today, we feel as if we hadn’t played our best cricket. Today I think it was close to that,” he added.

Narine smashed 64 from 32 balls, as he put on 115 runs from just 56 balls for the fourth wicket with Rana, who top-scored with 81 from 53 balls.

Playing his first match after being cleared of a suspect bowling action, the West Indian left-hander took the Delhi bowlers to the cleaners.

“I think that rubbed off on Nitish Rana as well. Watching them play with the freedom that they did was outstanding,” said Morgan.

“Sunil has been an integral part of this franchise for a number of years now. His ability as an all-rounder is key in our team.

“To have him back and come in and perform not only with the ball but with the bat, I think is outstanding. He has just proved how valuable he is to the team.”

Promotion to open the innings also worked for left-handed Rana, who shrugged off his poor scores of 9, 2, 9, 5, 29 and 0 in his last six innings to slam 81 from 53 balls.

“This now can be the start of his campaign taking things forward. Today, against one of the best bowling lineups in the tournament, he played absolutely outstanding,” Morgan said all praise for Rana.

He also spoke very highly of mystery spinner Chakravarthy who returned with the first five-wicket haul of this season.

“He has gelled really well in the team. I think he’s been one of the positive stories out of our campaign so far,” he said of the man who has been their leading wicket-taker this season with 12 from 10 matches.

Delhi had two well-set batsmen in Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant at the crease when Chakravarthy was pressed into the attack with the opposition needing 131 from 60 balls.

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Abhishek Patil