Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Nitish Rana said that although he was always aware of the impact Shardul Thakur could make with the bat, the all-rounder’s performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) exceeded his expectations.
Thakur scored 68 off just 29 balls against RCB on Thursday, 6 April. As KKR recovered from 89/5 to produce 204/7 after being put into bat, he hit nine fours and three sixes. In reply, Bangalore’s team was bundled out for 123 runs in 17.4 overs.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Rana shared his thoughts on Thakur’s innings and commented:
The way (Rahmanullah) Gurbaz batted in the beginning and the way Shardul batted… For Shardul, I would like to say that I knew he could make a big impact as a batsman. But the way he batted was way above my expectations. What more could a captain want? If one of your all-rounders can bat like this in such conditions, what more do you need?”
Thakur and Rinku Singh (33 off 46) put on 103 for the sixth wicket to pull KKR out of trouble. Rana praised Rinku a lot and while praising him said:
“Rinku’s game was as important as Shardul’s. Everyone is aware of his talent. He can hit sixes continuously. I advised him that whenever you can hit sixes, you should wait till the 19th or 20th over to do so. He completed it.
Rinku was dismissed by Harshal Patel in the 19th over to end his innings. While attempting to challenge Mohammad Siraj, Thakur was unsuccessful.
“Varun’s return is very important for us” – Nitish Rana
Varun Chakravarthy stood out among the bowlers with 4/15, while Sunil Narine claimed 2/16. Suyash Sharma, a young leg-spinner who was brought in as an impact player, also excelled with 3/30. Rana shared his thoughts on the bowling performance of the team and said:
“When it comes to the middle overs, I have full faith in Varun and Narine. Looking at the ability of Sunny (Narine) to perform over the years, I don’t need to say anything about him. However, Varun’s return is important for us.”
“Last year, his season was not that great. The way he has bowled in the first two games, though a captain can’t expect much from that.”
Chakravarthy bowled Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Harshal Patel to pave the way for KKR’s 81-run victory.
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