Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates after dismissing KKR batter Venkatesh Iyer. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) coach Brendon McCullum has given two reasons for the decision to move Venkatesh Iyer into the middle order during the team’s chase against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the IPL 2022 match on Monday.
The Kiwi legend explained that they thought Aaron Finch and Sunil Narine could make good use of the powerplay, given the batting-friendly nature of the surface at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The KKR head coach added that the think tank also wanted Venkatesh Iyer to take on the spinners in the middle overs.
KKR came close to chasing down 218 against RR courtesy a brilliant second-wicket stand of 107 between Finch (58 off 28) and skipper Shreyas Iyer (85 off 51). However, a sensational spell of bowling from Yuzvendra Chahal (5/40), which included a hat-trick, saw Rajasthan snatch a seven-run win.
Elaborating on the shuffle in the batting order during the chase, McCullum commented:
“We thought that Narine and Finch at the top was a very good opportunity. We knew that the wicket was going to be good; it was going to be a high-scoring game. We know how Narine plays. Unfortunately, he didn’t face a ball tonight. It can happen sometimes, but Finch and Shreyas Iyer were absolutely brilliant at the top of the order.”
Speaking specifically about Venkatesh Iyer, who opened the batting in all the earlier matches, McCullum added:
“We wanted to give Venkatesh Iyer an option through the middle against spin in particular – against (Ravichandran) Ashwin and Chahal. He’s a very good player of spin and, with one short side, we wanted to try and maximize that. So, that was the thinking behind it.”
Venkatesh was stumped for 6, trying to take on Chahal. His dismissal sparked a batting collapse as the leggie went on to claim wickets off the last three balls of the over to take a hat-trick.
“Sometimes you have to look beyond figures” – KKR coach backs Cummins despite poor bowling returns
A few games back, Pat Cummins grabbed the limelight when he equaled the record for the fastest IPL fifty. However, the Aussie has struggled with the ball in hand. On Monday, he went for 50 in his four overs. Defending the pacer, McCullum backed him to lift his game. He opined:
“I actually thought Pat bowled really well today. He didn’t have a lot of luck and bowled at really key times and pressure moments. Sometimes you have got to look a little bit beyond the figures. Granted, he hasn’t had as much impact as he would like just yet. But we know he’s a quality player and I am sure he will come good in time.”
Before the match against RR, Cummins registered figures of 1 for 40 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and 1 for 51 against the Delhi Capitals (DC).