Kolkata Knight Riders
All is not right in KKR camp and it came out in the aftermath of their defeat to Delhi Capitals on Thursday – their fifth defeat in seven matches this season. Coach Brendon McCullum was scathing in his criticism, saying: “If you can’t change a man, change the man” as he warned the failing regulars that their days in the playing XI could be numbered.
McCullum’s message was for KKR openers Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana, the former of whom has scored just 132 runs all season at an average of 19 and also a lowly strike rate.
Rana has fared little better as he has 201 to his name at a strike rate of 122.56, which led their Kiwi coach to point out that his batters “didn’t play enough shots” and that “it’s become a bit of a theme.”
It remains to be seen what changes McCullum ends up making that could save KKR’s season. Currently, they are sixth on the points table behind only Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Like KKR, Royal Challengers Bangalore, too, are coming off of a defeat. But while KKR were always the second favourites against Delhi, RCB were expected to beat Punjab Kings but instead ended up losing in an upset.
The RCB bowlers had a bad first half of the innings as they fell prey to Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. They fared better in the second half, restricting KPBKS to 179. In response, RCB had a nightmare of a start as their big name batsmen all struggled and vanished one by one, resulting in a 34-run defeat, which could have been an even bigger loss, had the tail not added 50 runs for the seventh wicket.
Despite the defeat, RCB are near the top of the table and could see the KKR defeat as a minor hiccup in an otherwise successful campaign.