Rahane opened the batting for the Kolkata franchise against CSK and scored a fluent 44 off 34 balls. He was the top-scorer for the team as they defeated defending champions Chennai by six wickets. KKR will next take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Wednesday.
While previewing the game, Chopra opened up about Rahane’s performance against Chennai and opined:
“Ajinkya Rahane has a lot to prove. He batted well in the first game but I just felt he was getting over-aggressive at times because he seemed to be playing the format, not the bowler.”
Rahane played only a couple of games for the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the previous IPL season before being released. The 33-year-old was purchased by the Kolkata franchise for ₹1 crore at the mega auction last month. Rahane has been going through a tough phase recently as he was also dropped from the Indian Test side for the home series against Sri Lanka.
Chopra also suggested that Kolkata captain Shreyas Iyer should bat at No. 3. He said:
“Kolkata are looking really strong, although I want Shreyas Iyer to bat at 3.”
The KKR captain came in at No. 4 against CSK and played a fluent knock, remaining unbeaten on 20 off 19 balls.
Chopra added about the franchise’s batting:
“Sam Billings is a fine player. Andre Russell can bat up the order. This KKR batting line-up is in form. Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane all are in form. There is a lot that’s going right for the Kolkata franchise.”
While Billings contributed a crucial 25 off 22 deliveries against Chennai, Venkatesh Iyer (16) featured in an 43-run opening stand with Rahane.
“They can take a chance with Tim Southee” – Chopra on KKR’s bowling line-up
With Pat Cummins unavailable for the first few games, Kolkata went with Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi as the two pacers and used Andre Russell as the third pace-bowling option in the first match.
Suggesting a couple of pace-bowling options who could come into the playing XI against RCB, Chopra said:
“Since Pat Cummins is still not available for KKR, they could go in with the same XI. If they want to play four overseas players, they can take a chance with Tim Southee. There is Chamika Karunaratne as well. Bowling was slightly thin in the last game. Do they want to change it?”
Yadav was the Player of the Match against CSK for his excellent spell of 2 for 20.