Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost.
That is what Kolkata Knight Riders has done in its last four matches. Eoin Morgan’s men wouldn’t want to make it five in a row in IPL-14 when it faces Punjab Kings on Monday.
Change of venue
KKR would be hoping the change of venue — the round of matches at the Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad kicks off with this one — could bring a change in its fortune, too.
And for inspiration to put an end to a sequence of defeats, the team needn’t look far. Punjab had registered three losses on the trot before it scored an impressive nine-wicket win over reigning champion Mumbai Indians in its last match.
K.L. Rahul and his men would be keen to continue from where they left off in Chennai. That victory was set up by their bowlers; the captain led the chase of the modest target with his third fifty in five innings.
Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 43 would have also gladdened the team-management; Punjab needs its Universe Boss to fire.
The bowling looks sharper with the entry of leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi who took two crucial wickets against Mumbai in his first match of the tournament. Pacers Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh have been shouldering the bowling responsibilities commendably.
Pat Cummins was expected to do that — and more, perhaps — for KKR, but it is his batting that has hit headlines (30 runs off a Sam Curran over). It will be interesting to see if the Aussie quick’s trans-Tasman neighbour Lockie Ferguson gets a look in.
Batting remains a worry, too. The awful form of Shubman Gill and Morgan — neither has touched 40 in their 10 innings between them — has been one of the reasons for the Kolkatans’ poor show. While Andre Russell has delivered with the ball, more is required from his bat.
KKR needs to step up.