Super Knights have armour to ride all the way

Gambhir’s men have been team to watch, but need to address concerns with bowling.

Published: 21st April 2017 05:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st April 2017 05:36 AM   |  A+A-

KKR batsman Gautam Gambhir | PTI

Express News Service

KOLKATA:Four wins in five matches — despite the relatively small sample size taken into consideration — is quite a compelling statistic. It’s a number that’s in congruence with the way Kolkata Knight Riders have come to be perceived in the Indian Premier League: a well-oiled, cohesive juggernaut of a team.

Why wouldn’t they be? They started off their tenth campaign in the event with a ten-wicket decimation — which was achieved  with 31 balls to spare — of the Gujarat Lions; a triumph that could well be construed as a one-match metaphor for the two-time champions’ winning efficiency.

With three more victories — against Kings XI Punjab, Sunrises Hyderabad, and Delhi Daredevils — after that clash, the Men in Purple and Gold are second in the table, with a net run-rate (+1.013) that’s leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, barring Delhi Daredevils (+1.157).

All the above paragraphs in totality paint a picture that, at the moment, Gautam Gambhir and his men haven’t put a foot wrong in the tournament so far.

The aforementioned line of thought wouldn’t be a wrong one to tread at all. In two stints of leather mangling, Chris Lynn ratcheted up 125 runs at a strike-rate of 192.3. The skipper himself is placed fourth in the top run-scorers list, with a tally of 196 at an average and strike-rate of 65.33 and 142.02. Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, and Yusuf Pathan have stood up for their team with the bat when called upon. The former’s haul is 34 runs short of Nitish Rana’s top-mark of 255, at an eyeball-popping average of 221 (courtesy three not-out scores).

Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine have thrown a spanner into the opposition’s batting progress when called upon. With four wickets apiece, the chinaman’s economy at the moment stands at 7.46, while the man with a mohawk has a more-impressive 5.50 as his corresponding number. Umesh Yadav and Nathan Coulter-Nile impressed during their outings against the Kings XI and the Daredevils respectively.

But, as is the inherent bane of impressive statistics, continuous success tends to sweep fallacies — even if they don’t possess a threatening significance in the current context — under the rug.

The Knight Riders’ only loss against the Mumbai Indians illustrates that point further. With 11 runs needed off the last over, Suryakumar Yadav’s boundary-line fumble and substitute fielder Rishi Dhawan’s grassing of Hardik Pandya resulted in their only points-table blemish so far. Chinks in fielding notwithstanding, the nine-plus economy-rates of almost all their bowlers (barring Narine, Kuldeep, and Coulter-Nile) is another reason for concern.

Though we live in a nation where the collective grain of thought is generally skewed towards leaving things be until absolutely necessary, Kolkata aren’t letting problems slide after taking cognizance of them.
“There are a lot of things to talk about, like us conceding more runs during the death and all. But, we’re looking at these things in a positive manner, and trying to learn from them,” said Yusuf Pathan a day before Kolkata’s clash with Gujarat at the Eden Gardens.

“That we’re looking to learn and rectify things as we progress in the event is going to be of big help, especially during the business end. This also keeps us in good stead during crunch matches.”

rahulravi@newindianexpress.com

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