Roy, Rana End KKR’s Losing Run!

He was not the original choice for Kolkata Knight Riders as he was ignored at the IPL auction, but later brought in as the replacement for Shakib Al Hasan.

England opener Jason Roy is proving to be a vital player for the Knights.

Roy came into the IPL on the back of some splendid form in the Pakistan Super League, hitting a match-winning 145 not out from 63 balls for the Quetta Gladiators against Peshawar Zalmi.

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And he has carried the momentum into IPL 2023, with two fifties from his three innings so far to rake up 160 runs at a strike rate of 170.

Roy, who boasts of an impressive strike rate of 142 in his T20 career, with 8,270 runs in 316 matches, is enjoying his best ever IPL.

He didn’t enjoy a good start to his IPL career in 2017, scoring 59 runs in three matches for KKR, while he couldn’t fare to expectations in 2018 and 2021 as well.

‘As individuals we need to look in the mirror, get better each session and think how we can individually impact the game in a better way,’ Roy had said ahead of KKR’s clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore after the Knights came into the match after a woeful run of four straight losses.

And it was Roy, who lived up to his words with a quickfire 56 from 29 balls, which laid the foundation for KKR’s huge total in Bengaluru.

Roy went on the attack from the word go as he hit Mohammed Siraj for two boundaries in the first over. With Narayan Jagadeesan getting bogged down at the other end, Roy made most of the Powerplay. He smashed left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed for four sixes in the sixth over to take KKR to 66 for no loss — their best start in the Powerplay in IPL 2023.

With Jagadeesan struggling to get going, RCB’s bowlers pulled back things in the middle overs. Roy, who raced to his fifty from 22 balls, managed just nine runs from the next seven balls before he was bowled by RCB pacer Vijaykumar Vyshak in the 10th over.

KKR struggled as they scored 27 runs from five overs after the Powerplay before Captain Nitish Rana set about resurrecting the innings.

RCB only had themselves to blame as they put down Rana twice before he got his eye in. Siraj put down an easy catch at long-off when Rana was on four off Vyshak’s bowling in the 13th over and two overs later, Siraj felt the pain as Harshal Patel put down another simple chance at fine leg when the left-hander was on 19.

The left-hander made RCB pay dearly for the two lapses as he pulled Vyshak for a six straight down the ground and then slammed Harshal for back to back sixes in the 16th over, to take his tally to 100 sixes for KKR in the IPL.

Vyshak again went for runs in his last over, with Rana getting two fours and a six in the 17th over before he was dismissed off Wanindu Hasaranga after a quickfire 48 from 21 balls.

Rinku Singh’s cameo of 18 from 10 balls and David Wiese’s two huge sixes in the final over helped KKR get to 200, with 69 coming from the last five.

RCB came up short as they went down by 21 runs with KKR relieved to finally get back to winning ways, a victory which they will hope revives their IPL 2023 campaign.

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