IPL 2020: Sunil Narine’s cameo at number four gave us momentum, says Kyle Mills

After registering a 10-run win against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowling coach Kyle Mills said that Sunil Narine’s cameo of 17 runs at number four gave the side momentum during their batting innings.
CSK was set a target of 168 runs and the MS Dhoni-led side found itself in a comfortable position at 99-1 in the 12th over with Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu at the crease. However, Ambati Rayudu was sent back to the pavilion by Kamlesh Nagarkoti, and from there on, KKR choked the runs and as a result, the Dinesh Karthik-led side won by 10 runs.
While batting first, KKR was bowled out for 167. Rahul Tripathi was the only batsman who was able to leave a mark as he played a knock of 81 runs. Narine had come ahead of Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell, and the Windies all-rounder scored 17 runs from nine balls with the help of one four and one six.
With the ball in hand, Narine bowled his first over in the 12th over of the CSK innings, and later on, he went on pick the crucial wicket of Shane Watson (50) to tilt the match in favour of KKR.
“We used Sunil as a pinch-hitter against CSK, this has not quite worked for him at the top of the order, a change is good as a holiday they say, we moved Tripathi to the top and it paid off for him. Sunil came in at number four and he played a cameo, it gave us a little momentum at that time so I was delighted for him,” Mills said during the post-match press conference.
“With the ball, he came in to bowl a little late, but the job he did at the backend is comforting to see for us at the sidelines, knowing you have an experienced individual with four overs in his sleeve with nine overs remaining in the game,” he added.
Commenting on the performance of Pat Cummins and Andre Russell with the ball in hand, Mills said: “We saw that in the previous few games, Cummins is a strike bowler, we are trying to be aggressive with the ball at the start of the innings, he got through his four overs, his last over was a wicket-taking over, we did not pick up a wicket but he bowled a pretty good over at that stage.”
“That’s how we have used Russell in this tournament so far with the ball in hand, its a real specialist skill as to how we like him to bowl at the end of the things. He has a few things to focus on, he does a lot of yorker practices as he is aware of what he needs to do for us, he is a handful for us at the end of the innings,” he added.
Kuldeep Yadav has been dropped from the side for the last two matches, and Mills said that the spinner is training really hard to make a comeback into the side.
“Competition is good. We have got a very good and competitive squad, Kuldeep has been dropped from the last two games but still, his presence is there within the group, it’s not easy for any cricketer to miss out on the playing XI, Kuldeep is one of the best spinners in the world but with the makeup of this group and large-sized grounds, we went with someone else. Kuldeep is training the house down, competition within the group is definitely aiding our performance on the park,” Mills said.
Commenting on the innings played by Rahul Tripathi against CSK, Mills said: “Not just in the academy before arriving here in the UAE, the four weeks leading into the camp here, he was exceptional, he literally worked the house down, he has been an example for a youngster who is wanting to get into the side, he is an example to everyone really, he is reaping the rewards and to get 80 odd here was magical to see.”