Kolkata Knight Riders top-order batsman Venkatesh Iyer has defended Nitish Rana’s decision to bowl the first over against Rajasthan Royals after the skipper ended up conceding 26 runs. Defending a modest 149, Rana was the victim of RR opener Yashasvi Jaiswal’s onslaught as he smashed the part-time off-spinner for 26 runs with two sixes and three fours that set the tone for RR’s win in just 13.1 overs here on Thursday.
“With a lefthander (Jaiswal) at the crease and him being an offspinner I don’t think it was a wrong option,” Venkatesh pointed out at the post-match media interaction.
The decision seemed baffling as KKR had in-form spinner in Varun Chakravarthy (17 wickets) but Venkatesh said it was more to do with match-ups.
“We all know what he’s capable with the bowl. He has picked crucial wickets in his career. Unfortunately, it didn’t go in our favour, had he picked up the wicket (of Jaiswal), it would have been a captain’s masterstroke. These things happen on the field. Terming Rana an “unbelievable bowler”, Venkatesh elaborated more on the contentious call.
“The wicket was holding a little bit and was on the slower side. We wanted to exploit the spin with the new ball.
“It didn’t work out so the questions. But Rana is an unbelievable bowler, he has come up and picked wickets wherever he bowled with economical bowling. One game would not make him a bad bowler.” Hailing RR’s fielding effort, Venkatesh further said Shimron Hetmyer and Sandeep Sharma’s spectacular catches dragged them back.
While Hetmyer dismissed Jason Roy with a well-judged running and jumping catch at square leg boundary, a diving Sharma took a blinder at midoff to bring an end to Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s brisk start.
The opening duo was dismissed in Trent Boult’s successive overs in the powerplay.
“Both of them were good shots and great catches. They easily saved around 20-odd runs on the field which in T20 is unbelievable.
“Two wickets and two new batters on the pitch which was not easy to bat that’s where I think we slowed down.
“I would take the responsibility of playing a lot of dot balls there. I should have rotated more, phase was owned by Rajasthan,” Venkatesh said about his slow start.
‘It felt Jaiswal batted on a different wicket’
RR’s young opener Jaiswal hit the fastest IPL fifty en route to his 98 not out (47b) on a difficult wicket.
“The wicket didn’t change much. It’s just that Jaiswal batted unbelievably. The way he played every ball we had no answers to his onslaughts,” Venkatesh hailed.
“It felt for us that he’s batting on a different track altogether because no other batters found it easy there, so credit to him.
“It’s the variety of shots he hit, effective and still orthodox. There was just one reverse hit, rest all were orthodox cricketing shots. He is a man in form, an amazing batter,” Venkatesh added. PTI TAP TAP BS BS
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