Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is the most formidable side on paper studded with a mix of youth and experienced campaigners. With names like Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill and Pat Cummins in the ranks, the Kolkata franchise was expected to challenge the IPL 2020 title. But the first impression of the 2012 and 2014 IPL champions was nothing close to it.
KKR were well and truly outplayed by defending champions Mumbai Indians in their inaugural match of IPL 2020 on Wednesday. On a pitch where Mumbai Indians posted a big total on board and their bowlers bowled exceptionally well, KKR failed miserably in both the departments.
Chasing the target of 196 runs, KKR lost openers Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine early. It looked like the young Gill succumbed to the pressure of chasing the big total while Narine did not look his usual form as an aggressive opener. Slow pitches in UAE can be a major setback for Narine as the ball will not come that easily onto the bat as it does in the sub-continent.
KKR captain Dinesh Karthik then tried to take the matter in his own hands as he promoted himself to bat at No.4. He added some crucial runs with Rana but once they fell, KKR's chase looked in shambles.
Russell and Morgan looked out of touch. Both batsmen tried to have a swing but consistently failed to get their timing right. Cummins then arrived at the crease to add important runs with a cameo knock but failed to get support from the other end.
Earlier, opting to bowl KKR bowlers were outclassed by some brilliant batting display from Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav. Sandeep Warrier finished with the economy rate over 11 while Cummins gave away more than 16 runs per over.
Early days in the tournament, KKR would look to reassess their strengths and weaknesses to come back as a stronger unit like they look on paper. KKR coach Brendon McCullum, who was seen noting some points down, might want to give some valuable tips to the side which looked like finishing in the bottom half of the table.