Sunil Narine didn’t open the batting for KKR: KKR batsman Nitish Rana discloses why Sunil Narine didn’t open the innings vs SRH.
During the second match of the ongoing 12th season of the Indian Premier League between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad at Kolkata, Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Andre Russell became a source of amazement for one and all as he single-handedly won the match for his team.
With KKR requiring 53 runs in the last three overs, Russell scored 49* (18) with the help of four fours and four sixes as Kolkata won the match with two balls to spare. Before Russell, it was batsman Nitish Rana who top-scored for KKR. Registering his sixth IPL half-century, Rana ended up scoring 68 (47) with the help of eight fours and three sixes.
Speaking during the post-match press conference, Rana opened up on tackling SRH leg-spinner Rashid Khan and disclosed his discussion with Russell in the middle overs. “I think it is important for the team to win. We have two brilliant finishers in Andre Russell and DK [Dinesh Karthik] bhaiya. Since they [SRH] had one left-arm spinner and one leg-spinner, my plan to play deep and play till the end.
“Since I had played Rashid’s [Khan] overs, it was easy for me to play him than any right-hand batsman. Our game plan was that I will take a chance against Rashid and Russell will attack the fast bowlers,” Rana was quoted as saying.
“Don’t have words to explain Russell’s innings”
Being asked about putting into words what Russell put on display today, Rana mentioned that words would be less to describe the way the West Indian batted. “If I want to express it in words, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Unbelievable batting.
“In 18 balls, we needed 52  runs. We won with two balls to spare. I don’t have words to explain this. We know he is capable and can do it. He has been doing it for years. It was our game-plan to put the onus on Russell in the end,” Rana said.
“I didn’t know I would be opening”
When Rana came out to open the batting with Chris Lynn, the absence of Sunil Narine had sent shock waves among the KKR fans. The southpaw also disclosed as to why Knight Riders sent him as an opening batsman. Because Sunil [Narine] got injured today, he wouldn’t have batted.
“Since I was the only left-hand batsman, I had thought of taking the game till the end. With Russell and DK in the squad, we can chase anything. I had opened once in a practice match. But I didn’t know that I would be opening today. It was because of Sunil getting injured while fielding in the first innings,” Rana added.
On the third ball of the 16th over, Rana was found wanting in front of the stumps by Rashid Khan. While he had the option to opt for a review, he decided to walk off for the better of the team. Being asked about the same, the 25-year old cricketer revealed that he wanted to save the DRS for Russell.
“I had thought of it once. I asked Andre if it was worth opting for a review. But then I thought that a lot of overs are left. Had we lost the review at that point in time and by any chance if Russell had required it towards the end, it would have become a concern. So, I decided against taking a review,” Rana concluded.
How Twitter reacted:
Was a close game but credit to Andre Russell and Nitish Rana for taking the game away from us with their brilliant batting. Was wonderful to see David Warner , Bairstow and Vijay Shankar bat the way they did. I am sure we will come back stronger #KKRvSRH
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) March 24, 2019
Andre Russell & Rishabh Pant are illegal in IPL.
— arfan. (@Im__Arfan) March 24, 2019
Well that was a great match #AndreRussell you are a champion
— Kathy (@kathy20557) March 24, 2019
— Shefali Gautam (@gautamshefali14) March 24, 2019
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