Kuldeep has just bowled nine overs so far in the UAE and many have started thinking that he isn’t a part of KKR plans this year.
Dinesh Karthik-led Kolkata Knight Riders, defying all odds, defended a modest 168-run total against three-time champions Chennai Super Kings at Abu Dhabi in Match 21 of the on-going IPL 2020. On the back of Rahul Tripathi’s 51-ball 81, KKR managed to amass 167 on the scoreboard.
In response, CSK had an impressive start in the first ten overs, with Shane Watson (50) and Ambati Rayudu (30) stitching a 69-run stand in the middle. However, after the duo’s departure, KKR’s bowling unit put up a match-winning show and restricted the Yellow Army to 157 runs. Getting back to winning ways, Kolkata scripted a memorable 10-run win over the MS Dhoni-led side.
One of the talking points of the match was the absence of Kuldeep Yadav from KKR’s Playing XI. On a slow pitch, it was felt that the left-arm wrist spinner could have made some impact. But Kuldeep has just bowled nine overs so far in the UAE and many have started thinking that he isn’t a part of KKR plans this year.
However, KKR bowling coach Kyle Mills has justified the omission of Kuldeep by saying that size of grounds in the reason behind the team management’s decision.
Kuldeep is one of the best spinners in the world: Kyle Mills
“Kuldeep is one of the best spinners in the world. But just with the make-up of the group at the moment and the size of grounds, it’s the reason we went for this XI today and Kuldeep was left out,” the former New Zealand pacer said in the post-match media conference.
“I guess the competition is good, isn’t it? We’ve got a very big squad, a very competitive squad for certain spots within the group and Kuldeep has missed out the last two games, but he has a presence within the group, he is still giving to the team. But Kuldeep is training the house down, he wants to get back into the starting XI and so competition within the group is certainly aiding our performance on the park,” he further said.
Another positive for KKR was Sunil Narine’s impressive performance against CSK. Narine, struggling with poor form, made a 9-ball 17 while coming at No.4 and later put up a match-defining bowling show. He conceded 31 runs in his four overs along with picking the vital wicket of a dangerous-looking Watson.
“As they say, a change is as good as a holiday… We have used him as a pinch-hitter, this hasn’t quite worked for him at the top,” Mills said on Narine’s previous role of an opener.
“So, taking him down lower the order gave Tripathi an opportunity and he took that with both hands. Narine came in and played a little cameo, to be fair and gave us a little bit of momentum at that time,” he added.