Kolkata batters will look to fire in unison to break Gujarat’s winning spree
AHMEDABAD: Kolkata Knight Riders’ morale-boosting, emphatic 81-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens has set up an enticing clash against the formidable Gujarat Titans
at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Allrounder Shardul Thakur‘s heroics and the superb show of the three spinners came at the right moment for KKR, reeling under the exit of Shreyas Iyer. It has given new captain Nitish Rana, who is himself struggling for runs, some much-needed breathing space as teams look for a head start early into the 16th season of the IPL.
The three spinners – Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and newcomer Suyash Sharma – didn’t allow the Bangalore batters to flex their muscles and spun a web around them to take a combined haul of nine wickets. How they go about their business against the likes of Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, David Miller and Co. could go a long way in deciding the outcome on Sunday.IPL 2023: High-flying Gujarat Titans take on Kolkata Knight Riders
The Titans have, more or less, all their bases covered but have not been asked to defend a total yet. Whether the Knight Riders go in with the three spinners is a decision that will be taken on match day, confirmed their bowling coach Bharat Arun.
“We will be taking a good look at the wicket and the ‘Impact Player’ rule in place gives us a lot of options. It is exciting to go with three mystery spinners. It is going to be a very dynamic decision, and we will take it on the go,” said Arun. Titans’ Miller said that they have been preparing to tackle the mystery spinners of KKR.
“KKR have a strong team, some very good mystery bowlers. We have been doing everything that we can over the last day or two to counter that,” he said. Three former Titans players – Lockie Ferguson, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Jason Roy (though he opted out of IPL last season) – are now part of the KKR squad, which will add an intrigue to this clash, which was won by the Titans last season.
KKR opener Venkatesh Iyer, and the middle-order batters Mandeep Singh and Rana have not really sparkled with their batting and will have their task cut out against a formidable Titans attack. Backing Rana amid his struggles, Arun said: “Rana is young, has a very good cricketing acumen and that’s the reason we chose him as captain. We are confident he will be doing well for us.”