KKR captain says his side ended up “40 short” in the six-wicket loss to the Royals
Eoin Morgan has called for better intent and more clarity from his Kolkata Knight Riders’ team-mates, following their fourth loss in five games in IPL 2021. Speaking after the six-wicket defeat to the Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede, he said his side had ended up “40 short” after leaving themselves with too much to do in the back-end of their innings.
“I think we lacked a lot of intent and impetus throughout our whole innings,” Morgan said at the post-match presentation. “We were sort of behind the eight ball probably from the get-go. Rajasthan adapted to the wicket really well and we didn’t. So I would say the majority [of the issues] was with the bat. About 40 short, which is a lot in a T20 game. Too much for our bowlers [to make up for] tonight.”
The Knight Riders, asked to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium, managed only two boundaries in the powerplay and the innings never really gained momentum from there, finishing on 133 for 9. There were coming off a defeat to the Chennai Super Kings at the same venue; in that game they stumbled to 31 for 5 inside the powerplay, before stunning counterattacks from Andre Russell and then Pat Cummins took them to within 19 runs of the target of 221. According to Morgan, while this track was not as easy to bat on, he wanted more from his batters.
“It was almost a stark contrast to the last game. We had guys who built partnerships [this time] that just lacked a bit of intent. I think the wicket today wasn’t as good as it has been here at the Wankhede in the previous games, so that was a challenge in itself, and a challenge that we didn’t overcome. So [we left] ourselves with a lot to do.
“Every time we seemed to take an attacking option we lost a wicket which is disappointing, and at the back end of our innings, it leaves us with a lot to do – which we didn’t obviously do.”
The Knight Riders now move to the Motera in Ahmedabad – “hopefully a venue that suits us” – where they will take on the Punjab Kings on April 26 and try to lift themselves off the bottom of the points table. Morgan is hoping they marry “smart cricket” with “free-flowing cricket” in order to achieve that.
“I think the clearer the mind, the easier it is. I think the capabilities of our side [is not an issue]… There is an element of playing smart cricket and building partnerships within that, but ultimately we want guys to play some free-flowing cricket. That wasn’t there today unfortunately.”
WBBL 2021 – Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav set for maiden WBBL deals
Verma has already signed a contract with two-time champions Sydney Sixers
ESPNcricinfo understands that Verma, 17, has already signed a contract with two-time champions Sydney Sixers while Yadav, 21, is on the verge of finalising her deal with one of the two Sydney-based clubs. Aside from Verma and Yadav, at least one more India player is likely to make her maiden appearance in the competition this season.
“Yes, Shafali has signed the contract with Sydney Sixers, and given she is a minor, I have had to give my consent, too,” Verma’s father, Sanjeev, told ESPNcricinfo. “I would like to thank the BCCI and Haryana Cricket Association [HCA] for giving my daughter the permission and support to play in the WBBL. Without the guidance of the HCA, whatever Shafali is doing in her career wouldn’t have been possible.”
A senior BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that the WBBL could see the largest ever Indian contingent this season. “All players who have been or will be approached by Big Bash teams will be given all necessary permissions to participate in the WBBL this season,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
Verma, as reported by ESPNcricinfo last week, is also set to make her debut in the inaugural edition of the Hundred, the 100-ball domestic competition of the ECB. She will be joined by her India team-mates Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues.
Only three India players have played in the WBBL previously. India T20I captain Kaur and vice-captain Mandhana debuted in the 2016-17 edition for the Sydney Thunder and the Brisbane Heat respectively. While Kaur played three straight seasons for the Thunder, Mandhana’s second bow in the competition was for the Hobart Hurricanes, in 2018-19. Veda Krishnamurthy played a solitary season, in 2017-18, also for the Hurricanes.
The WBBL didn’t have any Indian representation in 2019-20 as they focussed on preparing for the 2020 T20 World Cup instead, with assignments against South Africa and West Indies during the same time as the WBBL. A clash in scheduling with the 2020 Women’s T20 Challenge, the domestic three-team, four-match competition run by the BCCI, ruled at least three top-drawer India players out of the WBBL.
The seventh season of the WBBL is likely to run in its usual October-November window, and overseas players will be expected to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia.
Additional reporting by Daniel Brettig
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
Charter flight may return Maldives-bound Australia players this week
The group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16
Australian cricketers, coaches and media currently stranded in the Maldives may be able to return to home shores as soon as Sunday.
Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association and the BCCI are still awaiting confirmation from the Australian government that citizens who have recently been to India will be allowed to return to home shores after May 15 as previously flagged.
However, under plans currently being thrashed out on that condition, the group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16, where they would then serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association have been at great pains to ensure that this return would take place over and above the allowable cap of overseas arrivals to New South Wales so that no other inbound travellers miss out as a result.
“The BCCI is putting in place the best possible arrangements. We’re not seeking any kind of special exemptions whatsoever,” CA’s chief executive Nick Hockley said when addressing the matter on May 5.
“We will – any kind of quarantine arrangements would be over and above the cap. So our main priority is we would work with the Australian government and the relevant state governments to make sure that we’re not taking spaces of anyone else that’s available. So, you know, certainly that’s what we’re committed to do.”
It would be the second time in less than a year that the New South Wales government has answered a plea from CA for players to quarantine in the state, after the arrival of the Indian touring team last summer was flown into Sydney to quarantine after lengthy negotiations with Queensland were unsuccessful.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
India retain No. 1 spot in Test rankings, West Indies rise to sixth place | Cricket
India and New Zealand retained the top two places in the ICC men’s Test rankings after the annual update, while England overtook Australia for the third spot. West Indies also moved up by two positions to be placed sixth, one slot above South Africa.
India, who have an aggregate of 121 rating points, are only one point ahead of New Zealand. The two teams will face off against each other in the World Test Championship final to be held on June 18 in Southampton.
England climbed up by a place after their 4-0 defeat to Australia in 2017-18 was dropped from the rankings in the latest update. In the current cycle, all matches played since May 2020 are rated at 100% and those of the previous two years at 50%.
Meanwhile, West Indies moved from eighth to sixth place on the back of a 2-0 series win against Bangladesh and 0-0 draw with Sri Lanka earlier this year. This is their best position since 2013.
Pakistan remained fifth despite gaining three points after their 2-0 win against Zimbabwe. South Africa are placed seventh, their joint-lowest in Test ranking history. Only Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are below them. Ireland and Afghanistan are yet to play enough Tests to figure on the rankings table.
Click here for full rankings table
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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