Gautam Gambhir, once the angry young man of Indian cricket, is now the face of IPL. Every summer, he turns up, still as intense as ever, the desire still burning strong to do something special in the tournament. He can’t hit long and hard, he can’t run between the tracks too fast, and he isn’t special on the field. Yet, he is one of the IPL’s bankable stars. Somehow, year after year, he manages to produce the goods. KKR’s lone defeat came at home in Eden Gardens against Mumbai Indians, but Gambhir would be thrilled that they are second on the table as of now.
Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, seems to be made for T20. It was IPL that gave him captaincy, a responsibility he has taken on rather well. This year, like the recent years, hasn’t started well but he remains flexible and self-less for his team.
With 237 runs, Gambhir is the fourth highest run scorer this season. Not bad for a guy who last played international cricket two years ago. Gambhir seemed to choose an almost frenetic style of play in the first couple of games — clearing his front foot and dragging everything to the on side — but has settled down a bit as the games have progressed. In the two games, he didn’t score KKR lost one, and just about managed to chase down the second.
It should hurt Parthiv Patel that for a batsman who nearly always gets a start, he has this tendency to throw away his wicket. Hence he just averages around 25 this season. He might see it as his job, getting a start and giving it away to the middle order, but with his team struggling a touch, it would be best if he can carry for a while longer.
Mitchell McClenaghan loves his bouncers and is often seen testing out the Indian pitches across the country. The left-hander’s angle works well for him as the right-handed batsmen are often trying to fetch the ball across the line. But what he does in between those bouncers is what sets him apart. With his whippy release, he manages to get the ball to zip off the track and often the ball hits the bat harder, and quicker, than what the batsmen anticipate.
Interestingly, KKR have only two bowlers — Piyush Chawla and Andre Russell — who have bowled in all their five games. And even this pair hasn’t bowled their full quota every game. With his penchant for length deliveries, Russell has been unsurprisingly not too economical, while Chawla has gone for 7.55 runs per over.
News from the Bench
Mumbai Indians have finally found replacement for the injured Lasith Malinga in Jerome Taylor. Hardik Pandya has struggled to live up to his hype. Would Mumbai give Hardik a break, and bring in Corey Anderson?
Considering KKR have changed their bowling around a lot, it would be interesting to see if they give Shakib Al Hasan a go this game.