Kolkata Knight Riders top-order Nitish Rana posted his highest IPL score in the 2021 season opener against SunRisers Hyderabad as the two-time champions emerged victorious by ten runs. Nitish Rana, who often bats at number three, opened the innings and gave Kolkata a blistering start with Shubman Gill. The 27-year old underlined that his plan was to hit the ball if it was in the slot.
Nitish Rana anchored the innings, sharing partnerships of 53 and 93 with Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi, respectively. The southpaw brought his half-century off 37 deliveries with a stunning six over the deep backward region in the 10th over. Rana’s innings ended eighth over at 80 off 56 balls when he holed out to long-off. At that point, it looked like the Knight Riders would fall short of a stiff total; however, Dinesh Karthik lifted them to 187 through some lusty blows.
SunRisers Hyderabad faced early setbacks as David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha departed within the powerplay. Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey kept the Orange Army on track with a 92-run stand until Pat Cummins broke the game open by dismissing the former for 52. Even though the SunRisers showcased glimpses of pulling off a remarkable victory when Abdul Samad clobbered a couple of maximums, but it was a bridge too far. Manish Pandey’s unbeaten 61 went in vain.
I was backing myself and looking to hit balls: Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana, who smacked nine fours and four sixes in his 80, opened up on his first-ball boundary against Bhuvneshwar Kumar and said it was in the slot. The Delhi-born cricketer revealed that he backed himself to plunder the mighty strikes and planned to hit anything that was in the zone. Rana stated that his expertise against spin-bowling stems from his childhood since he has played plenty of spin.
“I thought the ball was in my slot (first ball, off Bhuvneshwar) and luckily I got a four. My game-plan is always that if the ball is in my slot I’ll try to hit it. I was backing myself and looking to hit balls. I’ve been playing spin since childhood, so in a way, it’s in my blood,” Rana told in the post-match presentation.