Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Pat Cummins has revealed that playing an extra batter allowed them to play aggressively while having full faith in Andre Russell’s bowling. KKR completed the double over the Mumbai Indians (MI), beating them by 52 runs at the DY Patil Stadium on Monday.
The KKR middle order couldn’t capitalize on the foundation laid by Venkatesh Iyer (43 off 24) and Nitish Rana (43 off 26) as Jasprit Bumrah (5 for 10) restricted the Knight Riders to 165 for 9. While it might have seemed like an easy chase with part-timers set to bowl four overs, Cummins threw his weight behind Russell. And the star all-rounder didn’t disappoint, returning figures of 2 for 22.
“I think Russ in particular has been bowling really well in the last few games. He’s a class player, very confident, he can bowl four overs anytime in the innings. Obviously with Venkatesh and also Nitish Rana, who didn’t bowl tonight, can cover the four overs quite easily. I think the message sent to the batters was to just go out there and be free, and try and be the match-winner, take the game on and maybe with the extra batter, it provides that bit of freedom as well,” the Australian Test captain said in response to a Sportskeeda query at the post-match press conference.
After 13 overs, KKR were 123 for 2 and well on their way to reaching a huge total. But the talismanic Bumrah wreaked havoc as just 42 runs came off the final seven overs with seven wickets to boot.
It, however, set an example for bowling on a Navi Mumbai track which had considerable bounce and carry. Cummins stated that they took their cue from Bumrah’s sensational spell and focused on hitting the hard lengths.
“I thought he bowled really well. I think he showed us that top of the stumps, back of a length was a tough one to play on this wicket. Especially here at DY Patil, it’s quite a big ground. Obviously you can feel confident that to be hit for a six is going to be a pretty good shot. So yeah, gameplan was really simple for us – try to bowl straight lines, back of a length, and it worked out,” he added.
KKR went up to seventh in the IPL 2022 points table. But with just five wins from 12 games, it’s going to take a miracle for Shreyas Iyer’s boys to make the playoffs. MI, on the other hand, are rooted to the bottom spot with just two victories so far.
“I probably didn’t bowl as well as I’d have liked to” – Pat Cummins on early-season blues
Pat Cummins seems to have finally found his feet in this edition of the IPL. After a delayed arrival due to international commitments, the Aussie quick was taken to the cleaners in his first four outings. He scalped just four wickets and conceded in excess of 12 runs an over – 12.25 to be precise.
He himself acknowledged his bumpy start to the campaign while lauding the efforts of Tim Southee (12 wickets in 10 matches) and Umesh Yadav (15 wickets in 10). Cummins finally hit his straps with the ball at the expense of the opposition against whom he had smashed 56* off 15 balls in the return leg.
“I probably didn’t bowl as well as I’d have liked to in those first four games. Yeah [I was] just a little bit off the mark. And Tim’s done a fantastic job. So yeah, good to get a go tonight. I was preparing, training, getting ready to be called upon if needed. And Umesh’s injury presented a chance. Yeah I didn’t have to try any hard, just trying to be a little bit more on the money than I was in the first four games,” he explained.
KKR will want to carry forward this momentum when they meet the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Pune on Saturday. Rohit Sharma and Co. will look to salvage some pride in the ‘IPL El Clasico’ against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.
Q. Should KKR continue to field batting-heavy line-ups in the remaining two fixtures?