Sanjay Manjrekar believes Aiden Markram’s six on Sunil Narine in the 16th over of Punjab’s innings was the turning point in the game last night. It came during their chase against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday night.
Captain Eoin Morgan needed 45 more runs to win the last 30 balls and decided to take his ace spinner Narine to throw the 16th over. While the West Indian managed to sack Markram, it came after the batter smoked him for a six over midwicket.
Markram tried to make an encore on the next throw when he hit a wide, short throw to deep extra cover, but he found the fielder to perfection.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Manjrekar said Markram’s six tipped the balance in Punjab’s favor.
“There were plenty of turning points in the game; referee decisions on Tripathi’s catch, Venkatesh Iyer’s catch that fell on the line. But the turning point for me came when Sunil Narine threw his 4th over. That over was very crucial as Narine has that. “The potential to give just 4-5 runs and claim a wicket. Aiden Markram didn’t play a big knockout, but his six on Narine came at a crucial point for Punjab,” said Manjrekar.
Punjab Kings again threatened to choke under pressure when KL Rahul hit a hole in the deep end in the last over of the innings. In the end, it was Shah Rukh Khan’s whirlwind undefeated 9-ball 22 that sealed the deal for Punjab.
‘Varun Chakravarthy has a similar role to Deepak Chahar or Trent Boult’- Sanjay Manjrekar
Captain Morgan introduced mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy to the power play, then knocked him out in the 11th over of the innings.
The leg spinner won a pair of prized scalps in the form of Mayank Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran, at the cost of just 24 runs.
When asked about Morgan’s thought process in bowling Chakravarthy so early in the innings, Manjrekar said:
“Varun Chakravarthy has a similar role to Deepak Chahar or Trent Boult: pick wickets in the power play. Morgan used him beforehand because Varun may not be comfortable bowling from the back. Mayank Agarwal is brilliant against spinners, but Chakravarthy did it still good by taking two wickets.”
Thanks to a scrappy five-wicket win, Punjab have kept their hopes of qualifying for the play-offs alive. They will now close the horns with Virat Kohli’s RCB in Sharjah on Sunday.
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