Two-time IPL winning Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir believes current skipper Dinesh Karthik should bat after Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell and also wants Sunil Narine to be dropped from the top of the order.
Apart from a 23-ball 30 coming at No 3 against Mumbai Indians, Karthik has failed to produce any significant score despite batting ahead of Morgan so far in the tournament.
The wicket-keeper batsman scored 6 after coming on to bat at No 5 against Delhi Capitals on Saturday even as Morgan (44 off 18) and Rahul Tripathi (36 off 16) raised hopes of a successful chase after batting at no 6 and 8 respectively.
“Rahul Tripathi goes up the order, Dinesh Karthik plays at No 6, not before Morgan and not before Russell as well. Probably Sunil Narine goes to bat at 8 or 9. If Morgan bats No 4 and Russell at 5 and Dinesh Karthik to follow,” Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.
The former India opener also felt Karthik miscalculated by giving the 19th over to spinner Varun Chakravarthy (1/49) as it yielded 20 runs.
“Your best bowlers need to ball the 18th, 19th and 20th over, unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine – if a spinner has to bowl. Even Mavi, did a fabulous job in the previous games and so did Andre Russell. You have to got to give your best bowlers,” he said.
“Yes Varun Chakravarty did bowl well in the first few overs but you cannot expect a young spinner to be bowling the 19th over and that too in Sharjah, probably it was a miscalculation.”
Gambhir said KKR gave away 20-25 runs extra at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium which has shorter boundaries.
“It is never finished till it is finished, that’s what we saw in Sharjah. These are too many runs, probably, 20-25 runs more than what KKR was expecting.
“It was the brilliance of (Anrich) Nortje, just backing himself which actually changed the fortune of the match,” he said referring Nortje’s the 19th over in which he conceded just five runs and took a wicket.
Morgan, though said it is “difficult” to get a spot higher up the order in a team that boasts of so many “match-winners”.
Coming in to bat at No.6, Morgan hit an 18-ball 44 to conjure up hopes of a successful run-chase before KKR fell short by 18 runs against Delhi Capitals’ total of 228 on Saturday. For England, Morgan has mostly appeared at No 5 and 4.
Asked if he came out late to bat, Morgan said: “No, I don’t think so. When you look at our batting line-up, we have a number of match-winners, so it’s very difficult to go up the order.
“Particularly when you have a world-class all-rounder in Andre Russell. He is an incredible striker, and when he comes up the order, obviously everybody else has to shift down a little bit,” he reasoned at the post-match online press conference.
Opening the innings, Narine has not been able to deliver any performance of note so far.
Asked about his place in the batting order, Morgan said: “Sunil is the type of player who can produce match-winning innings. It’s never been a string of scores, over the years, but more about his impact in a game.
“He always takes the positive option, which summarises how we want to play our cricket,” he said.
Gambhir praised Iyer for his 38-ball 88, which was laced with seven fours and six maximum hits.
“We keep talking about how he plays spin but today he showed that he can dominate fast bowlers as well,” he said.