Expressing “surprise at Narine being reported for a suspect action despite having played so much cricket and having been cleared after he was last called,” KKR left out Narine from the last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore as another adverse report would lead to him being barred from the tournament. The Knight Riders subsequently missed the mystery spinner badly as they were hammered by 82 runs. The big question is, will they risk playing the West Indian tonight, or wait for the issue to be “resolved” as they said in their statement?
IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE
Narine is the best bet to stop a marauding MI batting line-up, that has seen skipper Rohit Sharma (216 runs @ strike rate of 137.57), Quinton de Kock (191 runs, SR: 143.60) Suryakumar Yadav (Avg: 38.83, SR: 155.33), Ishan Kishan (186 runs, SR: 144.18) race away in the first 10-15 overs, before Kieron Pollard (avg: 174.00, SR: 189.13) and the Pandya brothers – Hardik (SR: 155.17) and Krunal (SR: 141.17) provide the fireworks in the end. Rohit, in fact, has an old liking for the KKR attack, as was evident in these team’s first clash, when he cracked a 54-ball 80 to fashion his team’s 49-run triumph. Both his fifties this season have come at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Perhaps, one way KKR can look to stop MI is to recall chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who was dropped after just three games, to partner the impressive Varun Chakravarty in the spin department, with Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna providing the initial breakthroughs.
What gives even more of an edge to MI is their well-rounded bowling attack, led by Jasprit Bumrah, perhaps the No 1 T20 bowler in the world. On a roll having won their last four games, the defending champions don’t depend on just Bumrah – Trent Boult is the most successful bowler in the powerplay overs, while James Pattinson has proved his worth too. With 31 wickets in seven games, it’s the most successful pace trio in the competition. Both the MI spinners, Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya, have succeeded in keeping the pressure up and taking crucial wickets in the middle overs.
On the other hand, KKR are beset with problems. Their Achilles heel has been the poor form of their biggest talisman, Andre Russell. Perhaps hampered by injuries, ‘Dre Russ’ has been a pale shadow of his devastating self, scoring a meagre 71 runs in seven [email protected] The Knight Riders look a different outfit when he fires. Will he fire tonight?