On Saturday (April 1), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) lost their first encounter of IPL 2023 by 7 runs (DLS method) as rain brought an end to proceedings after 16 overs had been bowled in the second innings, but skipper Nitish Rana feels that ‘anything could have happened’ had rain not arrived, and had the two sides played the full 40 overs.
KKR needed 45 off the last 4 overs with three wickets in hand when rain arrived, but Rana’s side being seven runs behind on the DLS par score meant that it was Punjab who walked away with the points, handing the Knight Riders their first defeat of the season.
Reflecting on the game, Rana claimed that Punjab would, in all likelihood, fallen behind on over-rate had they bowled the full twenty overs, which in turn would have given his side a slight edge.
“The over in which Venkatesh Iyer got out, we needed to score 12 without losing a wicket. After that over, rain stopped play,” Rana told the KKR official website.
“Because the rain isn’t in our hands, our game plan was to achieve the DLS target over by over. Personally I felt that if it had been a full match, then they would have fallen one over short (of over-rate). In that case, you never know what might have happened. We could have bagged the 2 points.”
On the day, KKR pulled things back after Punjab got off to a flyer and Rana was full of praise for Varun Chakravarthy, whom he labeled as his ‘go-to bowler’. Chakravarthy finished with figures of 1/26 off his four and picked the big wicket of Shikhar Dhawan.
“The way the surface behaved, the kind of start we had, we controlled well (with the ball) in the middle-overs. The way Varun (Chakravarthy) bowled, I don’t think I’ll face any problems as to deciding where he should bowl (in the coming games). He is my go-to bowler,” Rana said.
An opening-game loss means that the campaign hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start for the Knight Riders, but Rana isn’t panicking. He believes in the ‘marathon not a sprint’ theory and is confident that his side will bounce back.
“I think there was a lot to learn. This is a marathon of matches, there are 14 games in total; not just 3 or 4. We’ll talk, recollect, and hopefully we’ll bounce back in the next game.”