ANI Photo | “They batted well, judged wicket better than us”, KKR captain Nitish Rana on defeat against PBKS in IPL

Nitish Rana’s captaincy stint with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) didn’t start as he would have hoped for. Their 7 runs defeat (by DLS method) against Punjab Kings in the second match of the Indian Premier League on Saturday brought out some inconsistencies.
Even though KKR’s opening pair will be the talking point for the upcoming days, Nitish Rana’s decision in the first innings certainly raised some questions. With the likes of Anukul Roy and Andre Russell available to bowl in the middle as well as the death overs, Rana decided to stick with his five bowlers. In the last four overs, Punjab struck 38 runs to take their tally to 191/5.
“Was thinking of using Anukul with the ball but didn’t find the right situation for it. Russell not bowling at the death wasn’t because of any injury issue. I just felt like going with my five main bowlers. They batted well, and judged the wicket better than us. Anything could’ve happened if the rain didn’t arrive. Venkatesh got out unfortunately as we were trying to get ahead on DLS. The shot was on. Overall it was a good game. Plenty of learnings from it. It’s only the first game of the season,” Nitish said after the match.
Even though KKR bowlers failed to restrict Punjab to a reasonable score, their batters failed to step up on the occasion to bring their team back into the game. In the chase, of 192, KKR was off to a poor start. Pacer Arshdeep Singh shook Kolkata’s batting line-up by giving them a double blow. He dismissed Mandeep Singh (2) and Anukul Roy (4) for cheap, reducing KKR to 17/2 in 2 overs.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz tried to carry on with the chase, but he was clean-bowled by Nathan Ellis for 22 off 16 balls, consisting of three fours and a six. KKR was reduced to 29/3 in 4.2 overs.
Venkatesh Iyer, a substitute for Varun Chakravorty and skipper Nitish Rana carried the chase forward. They helped the side through the remainder of the powerplay without any further loss of wickets.
Sikandar Raza struck on his IPL debut, dismissing Rana for 24 off 17 balls. Arshdeep delivered another heavy blow to KKR, removing Iyer for 34 off 28 balls. KKR was reduced to 138/7 in 15.3 overs.
Rain interrupted the play and due to that Punjab Kings emerged victorious via the DLS method. KKR’s innings was put to a halt at 146/7 in 16 overs, with Sunil Narine (7*) and Shardul Thakur (8*) unbeaten. They still needed 46 runs in the last four overs.
KKR will try to bounce back in their second game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday at Eden Gardens (Kolkata). (ANI)

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