Eoin Morgan-led Team Kolkata suffered their fourth defeat of the 2021 Indian T20 League, losing to Sanju Samson’s Team Rajasthan by six wickets on April 24 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The result means the two-time Indian T20 League winners now lie rock-bottom on the points table and will need something special to get themselves up to the playoffs spots.
Kolkata were excellent against Hyderabad in their season opener, but have endured similar issues ever since. The middle-order gave away their run chase against Mumbai on April 13, and it was pretty much the same against Chennai, where a certain Pat Cummins had to score runs for his team.
Even against Rajasthan on Saturday, Kolkata suffered a similar collapse. Amongst all the recognized batsmen Kolkata have in their ranks, just three of them managed to breach the 20-run mark while failing to convert those into big knocks. Kolkata started extremely slow, scoring a mere 25 runs at a rate of 4.17 during the powerplay overs. A whopping 62% of deliveries (22) they faced during the powerplay overs were dot balls. Nineteen of those deliveries were faced by Shubman Gill, and the opener could only muster 11 runs at a strike rate of 57.89.
While Shubman Gill’s form has been a real worry for Kolkata, the inconsistency of their star players like captain Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell is what is hurting them big time this season. None of the three players have managed to forge a significant partnership until now, which has eventually resulted in a middle-order collapse. There has been only one instance where Karthik and Russell have played a 50-plus run partnership which too came in a losing cause against Chennai.
Against Rajasthan, Kolkata's top four partnerships accounted for just 61 runs. The figure against Chennai was 31 and against Bangalore, it was 74. Their opening two games were highly productive in terms of partnerships, but that slump against Mumbai was their eventual downfall.
Highest partnerships for Kolkata in last three games:
- 33 runs between Dinesh Karthik and Rahul Tripathi
- 81 runs between Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell
- 41 runs between Shakib Al Hasan and Andre Russell
On Saturday, apart from Rahul Tripathi, none of the Kolkata batsmen managed to score more than 30. The team had scored a mere 14 boundaries and seven of those came between Tripathi and Karthik. Credit where it’s due, Rajasthan were brilliant with the ball and forced Kolkata to as many as 56 dot balls, and that pretty much sums Kolkata’s outings this season.
Featured photo: Twitter / Kolkata Knight Riders