Sharjah: Kolkata Knight Riders’ drive to play “aggressive brand of cricket” has swung the momentum in their favour in the IPL 2021 UAE leg, said their skipper Eoin Morgan ahead of the Qualifier 2 clash against Delhi Capitals at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium later on Wednesday.
There has been a remarkable turnaround in the two-time champions’ performance in Dubai after a below-per showing in the first leg in India and much of the credit goes to West Indian all-rounder Sunil Narine, who not just snared four big wickets but also bludgeoned the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack as the side won by four wickets on October 11 to keep itself alive for a third IPL title.
Narine’s magical 4/21 with the ball and a cracking 26 off 15 balls, which included three consecutive sixes at a crucial stage, set up the win for KKR.
Talking about the impact the mystery spinner has had on the game, Morgan said, “I think he was outstanding. Both with the bat and the ball, his impact on the game was huge. He changed the momentum. When he went out to bat, he swung it completely in our favour after the platform the guys had laid at top of the order. With the ball, he bowled as good as I have ever seen him bowl! The guy is consistently exceptional every time he takes the field.”
Kolkata’s turnaround after a tough first leg of the tournament has been nothing but amazing.
“The first phase of the tournament, we were still trying to implement Baz’s (Brendon McCullum) mantra of trying to play positive, aggressive cricket and a brand of cricket that our fans really enjoy watching and also the players enjoy playing. In the first phase it didn’t quite happen. But throughout this whole second phase, people have turned up with a different motivation and drive to play that aggressive brand of cricket,” Morgan added.
KKR have been particularly bowling well, keeping most of the oppositions restricted to below-par totals. The batters, in return, have reaped the dividends and taken the team to new heights.
“I think our bowlers have actually shown us the way how to be aggressive with the ball in trying to take wickets and identifying when to hold back and be a little more defensive and that led our way in batting as well,” Morgan added.