Hardik Pandya led with the bat against Kolkata as GT pulled of an eight-win run
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will have fancied their chances in chasing a rather average total of 157 that Hardik Pandya and the Gujarat Titans (GT) put up after opting to bat first in the first of the IPL 2022 double-header on Saturday (April 23).
Except, they made a complete meal of it despite some last-minute slambang cricket by Andre Russell. The top order didn’t make much of an impact, and the end result was the Titans rightly proving why they deserved to stay on top of the table.
With this loss, Kolkata now sit in the second half of the 2022 points table with six points, while Gujarat solidified their position as table-toppers. We take a look at some of the takeaways from the match that saw GT edge KKR by eight runs.
#1 Hardik Pandya’s good run with the bat continues
Hardik Pandya notched up his third fifty on the trot, and the fact that he means business makes it tough for the selectors when they sit down to decide the squad for the WC.
What Pandya’s done differently, apart from fine-tuning his technique, is showcasing his leadership ability which further adds to his list of qualities as he looks to stake a berth for the marquee event.
#2 KKR’s unsettled opening combinations
It was a new opening combination for KKR against Gujarat and it failed spectacularly as well. Sam Billings (4) and Sunil Narine (5) were back in the hut quite early on. The logic was understandable with Narine sent in to make use of the powerplay, but the Titans executed their plans to perfection.
Mohammed Shami tricked Narine into playing his shot early and that meant losing both their openers early. Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana and Venkatesh Iyer failed to make an impact and that compounded their woes further.
#3 How much is too much for Andre Russell?
The KKR hard-hitting all-rounder has scores of 70, 11, 24, 49* and 0 in his outings so far. After KKR complicated and bungled a modest chase of 157, it was on Andre Russell to bail them out again as he struck a 25-ball-48 before Lockie Ferguson pulled off a blinder in the deep.
The question still remains: just how much is too much for Andre Russell? Kolkata will need their top order to step up instead of leaving too much to do for the West Indies star and stat as the edition approaches the business end.