Kolkata strengthened their position in the top four of the 2020 Indian T20 League standings following a much-needed 59-run win against Delhi at Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine played starring roles with the bat after scoring 81 and 64 respectively, while Varun Chakravarthy was the pick of the bowlers for Kolkata with his figures of 5 for 20, which dismantled Delhi’s middle order.
Here’s a quick glance at some of the talking points that emerged from the contest.
Kolkata’s opening woes continue
One of Kolkata’s fundamental flaws this season has been their failure to find any sort of stability at the top. Shubman Gill has done well, having been their most consistent run-getter so far and currently topping the chart for runs (321) by a Kolkata batsman. However, the two-time champions’ inability to have a reliable opening partner for Gill at the other end has been detrimental to their cause.
After 11 innings, Kolkata’s openers are the only pair across all teams in the league yet to put on a fifty-run stand. Gill and Rana could only manage 11 together before the former’s dismissal against Delhi on Saturday. Kolkata’s highest opening stand has been between Gill and Rahul Tripathi when they put on 48 together against Hyderabad just a week ago. If they want to qualify for the playoffs and beyond, this is one area where they must improve.
Anrich Nortje loves the sound of timber
There can be no doubt that South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje’s ability to bowl at the stumps with fierce pace has been one of the revelations this season and that aspect of his game was in full exhibition against Kolkata as he bowled Tripathi. Nortje has been amongst the wickets this season and with 14 scalps, is second only to Purple Cap holder Kagiso Rabada – who has taken 23 wickets – as far as Delhi’s bowlers are concerned.
Upon closer inspection into the manner of Nortje’s dismissals, though, it perhaps worth mentioning that six of his 14 scalps have been in the form of him rattling the stumps, while seven have come via catches and one after trapping the batsman in front his stumps. Nortje’s six bowled dismissals this season is only matched by Indian pace ace Jasprit Bumrah, who has also disturbed the furniture on six occasions so far.
Match-winner Varun Chakravarthy goes from strength to strength
If someone had told you at the start of the season that leg-break spinner Varun Chakravarthy would be topping Kolkata’s wicket-taking chart after 11 matches, not many would have believed you, and who could blame them with the likes of Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson and Narine in their ranks. But as it turns out, that’s exactly the case with Chakravarthy’s 12 scalps this year, putting him five ahead of Kolkata’s next best bowler in terms of wickets.
He’s averaging 23.50 and has become Kolkata’s go-to spin option over Narine after the West Indian’s suspect bowling action came under the microscope. His figures of 5 for 20 against Delhi is his best in the Indian T20 League as well as the best by any bowler this season. It was also only the second time in league history that an uncapped Indian player claimed a 5-fer after Ankit Rajpoot in 2018. Furthermore, Chakravarthy’s 5 for 20 is second best only to Narine among Kolkata bowlers in league history and his performance on Saturday should now make him the two-time champion's primary spin threat going into the business end of the season.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Kolkata