IPL 2021: ‘Delighted the way Nitish played’, KKR captain Eoin Morgan lauds Nitish Rana’s efforts in win over SRH

IPL 2021: SRH vs KKR: ‘Delighted the way Nitish played’, KKR captain Eoin Morgan lauds Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi's efforts in win
IPL 2021: SRH vs KKR: ‘Delighted the way Nitish played’, KKR captain Eoin Morgan lauds Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi's efforts in win

IPL 2021 – SRH vs KKR: It was tough coming into IPL 2021 for Kolkata Knight Riders’ Nitish Rana. Just days left in the tournament, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was even doubtful for the opener. But the Delhi batsman was on fire on Saturday as riding on his fantastic 80 off 57 balls, KKR beat David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 10 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. KKR skipper Eoin Morgan was delighted with the way Rana and Rahul Tripathi batted and set the platform for a big total of 188 on a pitch that was on the slower side.

“I am delighted for Nitish. Obviously, it was a match-winning innings today. The thing that impressed me the most about the method he used. He played really aggressively. He took a positive option. That set up our batting innings. That allowed middle-order, lower-middle-order players like Dinesh Karthik to play those shots,” Eoin Morgan said at the post-match press conference on Sunday.

Also Read: IPL 2021 – SRH vs KKR: Days after recovering from COVID-19, Nitish Rana slams 80 off 56 balls, hits hat-trick of fours in IPL

In a surprising opening pair selection, Nitish Rana opened the innings with Shubman Gill in place of Rahul Tripathi. But Rana did not disappoint. On a slow Chidambaram track, he pounced on the SRH pacers from the get-go. His hammer and tongs approach sped up scoring for KKR in the powerplay that set the stage. After Gill was dismissed, Rana partnered Rahul Tripathi for a fine 93-run stand for the second wicket. The duo’s effortless strokes against Hyderabad pacers including experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma helped the middle-order to post a big total.

SRH vs KKR: Morgan said despite making comeback after recovering from COVID-19, Rana did not lose his edge.  “He was delighted to be out of quarantine and get a negative test. Then when he joined the squad and back playing in the camp, netting and batting in practice matches. His game was in really good touch. We witnessed that today on a wicket that was probably not as good as he made it look to bat on,” Eoin Morgan said.

As for Nitish, he was happy with his effort as he did not try and do extraordinary things. He played only the balls that were coming in the width. “I only thought of playing my shots. That was the game plan. I was hitting only the balls that were coming in slots. If you get in the right areas then it was difficult to score. Whatever loose ball we got we were looking to utilise the most,” he said after his 80-run knock.

Also Read: Half-centuries from Pandey, Bairstow in vain as all-round show helps KKR beat SRH by 10 runs

However, for Morgan, many must have been surprised why Harbhajan Singh was not used after starting really well in the first over. Harbhajan, making a comeback after 699 days, was in rhythm and almost got a wicket in the first over but David Warner’s catch was dropped by Pat Cummins. On a slow track that had turns, an experienced campaigner like Harbhajan would have been successful. But Morgan relied on Shakib Al Hasan and Varun Chakravarthy to do the spinners’ job while continued to put pressure with the pacers. But Morgan hinted that Harbhajan will have a role to play in the upcoming matches.

“Obviously, there are a lot of preparations that go into a game by analysing the opposition team and him bowling the first over of the game was a decision based on that. He created a great opportunity. Unfortunately, the catch was dropped and I think the role he played then on was obviously using his experience to speak to other players and lend a hand when needed. Since he arrived in the camp, he has more energy than anybody I have seen in the squad. So, it’s fantastic that he is doing that and bowling beautifully. Hopefully, that continues,” Morgan said.