Kolkata Knight Riders suffered an embarrassing defeat last night in their encounter against the Chennai Super Kings at the Chepauk. Their batting line-up fell for just 108 runs, with Andre Russell being the highest scorer with a 50 not out. Eight batsmen scored in single digits and none of them really looked settled.
KKR boast a very strong batting line-up which goes deep down the order. However, KKR's batting only clicks if their openers get off to a good start. There is a visible pattern in all the matches that if any one of the openers fails to get a good start, the middle order struggles to perform and it is usually Andre Russell, who has to come to their rescue, and this is exactly what happened in the match against Chennai. Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn both got out in the first two overs and the team was left reeling at 47-6 before Russell's 50 steered them to 108.
Narine is a pinch-hitter and his job is to just come and hit all the balls to the boundaries. It doesn't matter if the ball is short or it's a yorker or the pitch is poor. He will hit all the balls irrespective of anything and that is why his spot is something that cannot be taken by anyone.
Lynn, meanwhile, has been having a terrible IPL. He has managed to score just 130 runs in 6 innings and his average is worse than Narine's, who is predominantly a bowler. Lynn is not getting used to the slow pitches in India and he faced the same issue in 2018 too. He has been unable to get going and his strike is just about 120. We are aware that Lynn is an explosive batsman, but every player goes through a rough patch and there is no harm in dropping him for a match or two.
Furthermore, KKR have an extremely skilled replacement ready, who is just being wasted down the order. Shubman Gill is an opening batsman and he has been pushed down the order to play the role of a finisher. Gill is extremely talented and his potential is being wasted down the order. It is high time that Kolkata Knight Riders opt for Gill as the opener and pick someone more explosive down the order.
The perfect replacement for Lynn in this regard can be Carlos Brathwaite. KKR bought him for a hefty sum of ₹5 crores and he hasn't played a single match till now. He can complement Russell beautifully and these two can create havoc in any match that they play. Also, KKR's home ground is Eden Gardens, which is incidentally the ground in which Brathwaite smashed Ben Stokes for four sixes off the last over in the World T20 finals to get his team the cup. The all-rounder has an excellent record at this ground and he will be waiting to don the purple jersey and smash bowlers all over the park.
With such talent and skill present in the squad, it is quite disappointing of KKR to waste it by giving continuous chances to Lynn. He should be dropped for the match against the Delhi Capitals and it is important that Dinesh Karthik makes this change so that the pressure is not always on Russell to get them across the finishing line.
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