South Africa fast bowler, Dale Steyn lavished praise on Eoin Morgan’s captaincy in Kolkata Knight Riders’ victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday in Chennai. While the Knight Riders won by a margin of 10 runs, however, the Sunrisers remained behind the eight ball all the time.
With the help of Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, and Dinesh Karthik, KKR posted an above-par score of 187. In the chase, on either side of the 92-run stand between Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey, KKR had a tight grip on the game. Dale Steyn gives captain Eoin Morgan the credit for the same.
In the strategy meeting, they have come up with some good plans: Dale Steyn
KKR included veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who hasn’t played a game for nearly two years, in the line-up only for one batsman: David Warner, SRH’s left-handed captain, against whom Harbhajan has had the upper-hand with his match-up. The off-spinner could have had Warner in the first over if not for the spilt catch by Pat Cummins. He didn’t bowl a single over after then.
Morgan didn’t use his ace pacer, Cummins, with the new ball. Instead, he brought the in-form Prasidh Krishna into the attack; Krishan struck with Warner’s wicket. Seeing two right-hander’s – Wriddhiman Saha and Bairstow – at the crease, Shakib Al Hasan was introduced; he struck with Saha’s wicket on his first ball.
Eoin Morgan called up Cummins in the sixth over, when the batsmen generally look to up the ante; the Australian gave away just 3 runs.
As Dale Steyn points out, the KKR skipper continued to mix up his bowlers during the middle-overs. Krishna and Cummins chipped in wickets in the middle-overs to derail the chase.
Steyn was impressed with the way Andre Russell was used. Despite conceding 15 runs in his first over, the West Indian was backed by the skipper to do the job in the death. Russell was recalled in the 18th over – he gave away just 6 runs and dismissed Vijay Shankar. The all-rounder then killed the game in the first 5 balls of the last over conceding just 5 runs, and KKR opens their account in IPL 2021.
“Yeah, they just didn’t want to give away too much momentum in a sense that the batting can pick you up and understand what your game plan is. If you ball 12 balls in a row, like the 17th and the 19th over, it’s always difficult because you feel like you’re gonna get line up, and they kind of know what’s is coming,” Dale Steyn told ESPNcricinfo.
“So [Eoin] Morgan switched the bowlers really well besides probably Russell, which I thought was quite an interesting one: the round the wicket, wide.
“It was good thinking, planning ahead, something different again, sitting in the strategy meeting they have come up with some good plans. That’s out of the box kind of thinking; so well done to them, and smart captaincy tonight,” the former RCB seamer added.
KKR will face rivals Mumbai Indians, who have an upper hand overall, on Tuesday at the same venue.