Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, IPL 2018, KKR, RR
Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik © AFP

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) cruised to the No.1 spot in the VIVO IPL 2018 points table with a 7-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Match 15 of the tournament. It was once again Nitish Rana, who starred for KKR and claimed consecutive Man of the Match awards. The team skipper Dinesh Karthik, who coped criticism after consecutive defeats against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) last week, believes there are still areas of improvement.

Karthik had a good game. He pulled off a stunning stumping of Ajinkya Rahane  and later was involved in a decisive 61-run stand of 38 balls. He belted a 23-ball 42 and finished the game with a six. He credited Robin Uthappa for setting the tone with his 48.

“Feels good to get two wins on the trot. Slowly things are going in a good direction. Just feel that the wrist-spinners are a little harder to pick. For the fast bowlers, it could come onto the bat. So it makes sense to go with spinners at the top. Spinners did a good job for us. The way Robin (Uthappa) batted was fantastic. He set the tone for us,” said Karthik at the post-match presentation.

Lauding Nitish, Karthik added,  Nitish is getting used to that role where he’s coming not out which is good to see. It is a long tournament and consistency is the key. He is a good player. Last year he did well for MI (Mumbai Indians). And now he’s come to KKR. He’s got a couple of rough ones, got a couple of good catches taken off him.”

Karthik believes the side still has room for improvement, especially with fielding and pace bowling.

KKR play Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) next at Eden Gardens on Saturday.