There is a sense of optimism around Kolkata Knight Riders following their Super Over win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, considering they had suffered humiliating defeats against Royal Challenges Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. While Pat Cummins sounded a warning to other teams that they haven’t played “the perfect game” just yet, Lockie Ferguson felt it was important to “park the win” and move on.
With five games remaining, KKR’s next challenge will be to distance themselves from the chasing pack. They have a two-point advantage over Rajasthan Royals and the resurgent Kings XI Punjab, and are four points clear of SRH. The first step, however, comes riddled with scars. The last time KKR faced RCB, Virat Kohli’s men eased to an 82-run win. It’s crucial the team is able to ‘park the losses’ as well if they are to entertain hopes of an easy passage to the Eliminator or even the first Qualifier.
To revive their campaign, KKR followed the strategy opted by MI and Delhi Capitals. An addition of a pacer with the ability to crank up their pace has helped the two sides bag the first and second spot in the table. Ferguson’s introduction to eleven did help the side reap immediate rewards but they now face an even sterner challenge against the likes of Kohli and AB de Villiers.
RCB, after the game against KKR, will face struggling SRH and Chennai Super Kings. But their other two games are against the table-toppers. For them, it’s now all about ensuring they keep accumulating wins and hope MI or DC slip up. A top-two finish will not only give them a better shot at their maiden title but also the confidence needed going into the business end of the tournament.