IPL 2024
Aakash Chopra Highlights KKR’s Shortcomings Ahead Of Qualifier 1 Against SRH
By CricShots - May 21, 2024 12:29 pm
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The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have secured the top spot on the IPL 2024 points table and are set to face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Qualifier 1. However, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra believes that KKR may face significant challenges in their quest for a third IPL title. One of the most pressing concerns for KKR is the absence of their English opener, Phil Salt. Salt, who was KKR’s second-highest run-scorer with 435 runs in 12 matches, has returned to England to participate in a four-match T20I series against Pakistan.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

Salt’s departure leaves a noticeable gap at the top of the order, where he provided explosive starts alongside Sunil Narine. “There could be one problem for sure. This season, Phil Salt greatly contributed to this team’s success. The starts he used to give with Sunil Narine suddenly put the opposing team on the back foot and they used to find it very difficult to emerge from that many times. However, Phil Salt isn’t there now,” Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel.

To fill Salt’s shoes, KKR will likely turn to Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The 22-year-old has experience playing at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, having been part of the Gujarat Titans (GT) previously. However, Chopra expressed doubts about whether Gurbaz can match Salt’s impact at the top of the order.

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“Rahmanullah Gurbaz is there in place of him. The thing that goes in Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s favor is that he used to be a part of the Gujarat Titans at one point. So he has played earlier at this ground and on these pitches although he didn’t get too many chances when he was with Gujarat,” Aakash Chopra added.

Another issue that Chopra identified is the form of KKR’s captain, Shreyas Iyer. While Iyer has scored 287 runs at an average of 31.88 this season, his performances have been inconsistent, and he has played more of an anchor role, unlike the aggressive approach of his teammates.

“The second problem is that Shreyas Iyer hasn’t scored that many runs this year. He has played a slightly anchor-type role whereas all players around him come like rocket launchers. He even said that he has an anchor’s role this time. So he is anchoring but the season hasn’t been the way you expect it to be,” Aakash Chopra further noted.

Chopra also pointed out the underwhelming performances of Rinku Singh, who has only scored 168 runs at an average of 18.66, and the inconsistent form of Australian pacer Mitchell Starc, who, despite taking 12 wickets, has been expensive, conceding runs at an economy rate of 11.36 per over.

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“However, despite that, his team has reached so far. The third problem is that Rinku Singh has neither scored many runs nor got many opportunities. Other than that, Mitchell Starc’s form has been 50-50,” Aakash Chopra concluded.

Despite finishing at the top of the table, KKR faces several form issues that SRH could exploit in Qualifier 1. In their only league meeting this season, KKR narrowly edged out SRH by four runs. The winner of Qualifier 1 will secure a direct spot in the final, while the loser will have another opportunity in Qualifier 2 against the winner of the Eliminator between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB).