‘He can turn a match with both bat & ball’: Gavaskar names all-rounder who can ‘bolster’ KKR middle-order vs RCB
A playoff berth seemed a distant dream for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the first phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. With just 4 points in their kitty, the Eoin Morgan-led side was reeling at the bottom half of the points table. However, the side changed its own fate with a series of rollicking performances to propel up and dethrone defending champions Mumbai Indians at the fourth position. KKR made the competition extremely tough for MI, ultimately making their grand entry into the knockout stages.
On Monday, they face a highly confident side in Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Sharjah. The winner of this game will progress further while the losing side will have to pack their bags and return home.
KKR can be lethal if they get the services of their dynamic all-rounder Andre Russell. However, his fitness is a major concern. Still the side has got enough firepower and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes that the presence of spin duo – Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy – can ‘stiffle the opposition’.
“There is no news yet about the availability of Andre Russell, but if he is fit, then he will bolster the middle-order for Kolkata. He is just the kind of player who can turn a match with both bat and ball, so Kolkata will be hoping he is fit,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for the Times of India.
“Lockie Ferguson has been terrific for Kolkata, with his pace rattling the best, and if he bowls as well as he can and with the two mystery spinners Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, Kolkata have an attack that can stifle the opposition,” he added.
Gavaskar also highlighted the strengths of RCB which were on display against Delhi Capitals on Friday night. KS Bharat and Glenn Maxwell came together to hand a magnificent win to their side and the former India batting legend also lauded their contribution.
“Bangalore after that terrific last-ball win over table-toppers Delhi will be buoyant for it was a newcomer KS Bharat who kept cool and finished the game with a six. It was a brilliantly paced chase and with Maxwell once again taking the lead with some audacious strokeplay, Bharat also began to open out and played some bold shots.
“Don’t forget that he had come in to bat in the first over itself and that too after keeping wickets for 20 overs. To then stay right till the end shows the immense stamina and staying power he has. More importantly, in testing times, he kept his cool, and that also displays sound temperament,” wrote Sunil Gavaskar.