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Call it the law of averages or sweet reward of perseverance and patience, Sunrisers Hyderabad had their first victory against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. Yes, KKR handed it to them on a platter. The brilliance of SRH aside, there are many reasons why SRH was able to achieve this historic victory.
SRH captain Kane Williamson won the toss and invited KKR to bat first. This was also the invitation to the flurry of bad decision-making by KKR captain Dinesh Karthik. Sunil Narine did not open the innings – maybe not a bad decision, but his coming down the order did not have much of an impact either.
Robin Uthappa came to open with Chris Lynn. Playing on his home ground, much was expected from Uthappa, but he disappointed. He has not been in a good touch for a while now. For his three runs, he consumed eight deliveries. His footwork was not impressive, and he lacked confidence. His wicket on the top affects the performance of other teammates, too, and it was no different this time.
Nitish Rana was immature: He got a start but played a very bad shot to get dismissed. It is the same old story. No one is looking at the larger picture. It doesn't seem like a team sport. Everyone wants to score big and throw away wickets in the process.
Sunil Narine came in at number 4 and did not look comfortable at all. He was unable to middle the ball and could not read the line properly, and he ultimately paid the price. In came captain Dinesh Karthik, but perhaps it was too late by then. He might like to answer a few questions. First, why was Shubhman Gill still in the dug-out? Why the star performer of the under-19 world cup winning team was not promoted up the order? And then, what is Karthik up to with his own batting? Can he always afford to play slow in the name of rebuilding the innings? Slow-paced, defensive cricket is what he has been doing since the start of IPL 2018.
Andre Russell was sent ahead of Shubhman Gill, and Russell failed. The pressure was on Gill to perform and he failed, too. But it seemed the failure of the captain, who should have known that Gill is an opener and not a slog-hitter. The team could manage only 138-8 in 20 overs.
And now, it was the turn of the bowlers to disappoint. Top-quality bowlers like Mitchell Johnson and Russell were taken apart by SRH openers. Both leaked more than 10 runs an over. When wickets fell, thanks to Sunil Narine, Karthik failed to set an attacking field. He did not give the bowlers a field to play with. Also, there was a second blunder that Karthik made: Shivam Mani was introduced into the attack in the 14th over and was never given the ball again. The question is, why play the stars of U-19 WC champions if they are not to be utilised to their capacity?