With a fine win over Delhi in their last match, Kolkata didn’t let their chances of making the playoffs go to waste. It was a hard-won victory that boosts the enthusiasm of the team and makes them ready to perform even better. Kolkata now has to take on a team from Punjab which, despite being in dominating conditions, finds ways to lose but veteran Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan knows that no match is easy in cricket, especially in the most competitive tournaments.
Punjab’s batting is not looking as explosive as it looked in the last season. Even last time no other team in UAE could score with such ease. The pitches are slowing down and due to this, the spinners are preventing the batsmen from opening their hands by bowling brilliantly in the middle overs. This is the department where Kolkata’s team is very strong. Its two mysterious spinners Sunil Narine and Varun Chakraborty are weaving a web of spin against batsmen who play only on the front foot and do not use the depth of the crease. Such batsmen do not get much time to play spinning balls. Both the spinners have bowled an excellent length that is not too full and the pace of the ball is such that the batsman does not get a chance to get close to the ball.
Kolkata has such a player in Venkatesh Iyer who can become an all-rounder that Team India is looking for. He doesn’t have the pace in his deliveries but he has accurate yorker deliveries that prevent the batsmen from playing big shots. At the same time, as a batsman, he plays upright, which helps him to position while playing the short ball and he also drives beautifully as most left-handed batsmen play on the off-side. Rahul Tripathi is also batting brilliantly. Of course, Morgan himself is not in good form but he can bat explosively if he gets into the rhythm. Wins in the last few matches mean that Kolkata’s team is not missing Andre Russell much. The team will hope that its explosive game-changer is fully fit before the crucial matches.