Pat Cummins is not only a tearaway quick, he can find the gaps and is a master of the lofted shot. When Kolkata Knight Riders lost its top order early against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Friday, the Australian took charge and stitched an 87-run stand off 57 balls for the sixth wicket with Eoin Morgan.
Cummins smashed his maiden T20 fifty; 53 not out (36b, 5×4, 2×6) balls to lift KKR to 148 for 5 from 61 for 5 in the 11th over.
KKR lost the battle to Mumbai by eight wickets but Cummins proved his worth as a potent bowling all-rounder for the second time in the season. In the first-leg encounter against Rohit Sharma’s side, he had smashed four sixes off Jasprit Bumrah to score 33 off 12 balls.
On a lighter note, Eoin Morgan, who made his debut as KKR captain, feels Cummins saw the cricket ball as he sees the golf ball. “We actually look at Pat as an all-rounder. He has been focusing on his golf and the strip so far. It has made a huge difference with his batting. He has been hitting the golf ball really well,” he told reporters at the post match press conference.
With the ball, Cummins has picked up only two wickets in eight games but his batting average reads 31.50.
Taking over from Karthik
To bat freely, KKR regular captain Karthik swapped roles with vice-captain Morgan. The England white-ball leader praised the Indian for his “selflessness.”
“I think within a team of leaders, given that myself and Dinesh are title leaders as captain and vice-captain, it will be a smooth transition from here. It took a lot of courage and quite a lot of selflessness for him to come forward and recognise that within himself. He wanted to focus on his batting for the remainder of the tournament and take the vice-captaincy and therefore, I became captain. It is a very good opportunity for me to lead the team but within the group of players, we have a number of leaders who we need throughout the tournament,” said Morgan, who wants the batting department to pull up its socks.
“With the bat early on, we made a few mistakes. I thought Mumbai bowled really well and proved exactly why they have been an in-form team so far. This is an area of improvement where we have to make strides. We are in the middle of the tournament and there is no better time to change things around.
“Given the strength, depth and different skill-sets in our batting lineup, we have to be adaptable playing against different oppositions with different match-ups,” he added.
No clarity on Narine
It has been learnt that off-spinner Sunil Narine, who was reported for suspect action, is trying to iron out the flaws with spin bowling coach Carl Crowe. But there is still no official announcement from the franchise on the bowler’s development.
KKR fielded off-spinner Chris Green against Mumbai who had an ordinary outing (0 for 24), while chinaman Kuldeep Yadav continues to warm the bench after three games. “Given the circumstances that dictate where the spinners turn the ball, it is potentially in a day game. The evidence showed tonight as the ball did not turn a great deal. Hence, there wasn’t an opportunity for KD,” said Morgan.