POINTS TABLE | FIXTURES
What must have rankled Pant was his partner at the other end – Shimron Hetmyer – had pulverized the RCB bowlers but he couldn’t give the West Indian the bulk of the strike in the end overs. It was an uncharacteristic knock from Pant. He struggled to get going for most part during his stay at the crease.
On Thursday, Pant will be back in action. The venue will be the same – Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, against the Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Pant will strive to bring to fore his swashbuckling self against KKR. But will he be able to?
Kolkata have one of the best bowling line-ups in the tournament. It won’t be easy against the likes of Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Andre Russell and the mystery spin duo – Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy.
For Pant to strike big, he needs to segregate ‘Pant the batsman’ and ‘Pant the captain’. The batsman Pant should not get bogged down by the captaincy responsibilities. He needs to play with the same abandon that he displays when he represents the national team.
DC openers have fired in the tournament. Prithvi Shaw (187 runs) and Shikhar Dhawan (265) have not only piled on the runs but also scored at a rapid rate. Their performances have reduced the pressure on the middle-order.
On the other hand, KKR’s woes are at the top of the order. Shubman Gill, despite having all the talent in the world, has come a cropper in the tournament so far. He has only managed 89 runs in six innings at an average of 14.83.
Kolkata came back into the tournament – after four straight losses – with a win against Punjab Kings in their last match. Captain Morgan also roared back into form with a match-winning unbeaten 47.
KKR need to look at their trump card Andre Russell’s batting position. On most occasions, he comes too low down the order and has very little time to make a substantial impact. A promotion for Russell might see fireworks galore.
Having returned to winning ways, KKR now can’t afford any more slip-up if they want to continue their ascent in the points table.