It was an emphatic batting display by KKR’s top-order with opener Nitish Rana (80 off 56 balls) going on the rampage in company of Rahul Tripathi (53 off 29 balls) in a 104-run partnership as they were 145 for one after 15 overs.
A mini-collapse followed but that did not derail them as vice-captain Dinesh Karthik‘s cameo of 22 not out from nine balls took them to a challenging 187 for six.
“One of the many strengths we have within our squad is two of the most talented guys in the country opening the batting for us,” Morgan said at the post-match virtual media conference.
Free from the “burden” of captaincy, Karthik smashed two sixes and one four to ensure that they do not go on backfoot after losing Andre Russell, Rana and Morgan for three runs.
Good to hav our 100th IPL match win. Well done boys…@KKRiders @prasidh43 @DineshKarthik @NitishRana_27 #Rahul… https://t.co/E1zOX9f33y
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) 1618162992000
“Tripathi today at No. 3 played beautifully, and the middle-order we have is extremely versatile. When Dinesh plays like that or Andre plays the game he can play, you’re going to see a very destructive batting unit that has potential to win you matches.”
The skipper was all-praise for Rana who played the match-winning knock, days after recovering from a bout of COVID-19.
“I’m delighted for Nitish obviously a match-winning innings today. The thing that impressed me the most about his innings was the method that he used.
01:02IPL 2021: Nitish Rana helps Kolkata Knight Riders to 100 IPL wins
“He played really aggressively and always took a positive option, which really did set up our batting innings.”
Talking about Karthik, who was seen batting at No 6, Morgan said the wicketkeeper-batsman is happy with the role given to him.
“Dinesh is happy with where he is at the moment. Obviously we’re in regular conversation with him being the vice-captain and me being captain.”
KKR’s big-hitting Russell (5 off 5 balls) may not have clicked with the bat but the Jamaican was seen bowling at the death as he defended 22 runs in the last over.
IPL 2021: Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad for 100th IPL win
Kolkata Knight Riders started their Indian Premier League campaign with a 10-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. (PTI Photo for IPL)
“I’m delighted. Andre has been a big part of the franchise for a long time now,” Morgan said.
“Obviously, when you are a player of that talent and ability, you can offer so much at any stage, and today he did that. Bowling at the death is not an easy job to do, and he managed to get us over the line.”
Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was given the first over of the match, almost took the prized-scalp of David Warner but his catch was dropped by Pat Cummins at point.
Harbhajan did not bowl after the impressive first over and Morgan defended the decision.
“It’s more to do with matchups. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into the analysing of the opposition team, and him bowling the first over of the game was a decision based on that,” he said.
“He created a great opportunity. Unfortunately the catch was dropped. And the role that he played from then on, obviously using his experience to speak to other players, was outstanding.
“Since he’s arrived in the camp, he’s had more energy than anybody have seen within the squad so fantastic. Hopefully he can continue doing that.”
KKR next take on Mumbai Indians here on Tuesday.