Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan has led his team to the IPL playoffs against all the odds.
However, that has been down to his leadership. His performances with the bat have been very lacklustre. Since the IPL resumed in the United Arab Emirates, Morgan has just scored a terrible 17 runs in four whole innings.
That is an abysmal record for a batsman of Morgan’s calibre. It is seriously raising concerns over his form and willingness for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Eoin Morgan’s poor return in KKR
The IPL’s overseas rule means Morgan is one of four overseas players in the KKR A-team. That in itself is a problem, but it gets compounded when you are a captain. The general consensus in the IPL is that it’s okay if you struggle as an Indian, because you can be replaced easily. An overseas player struggling is harder to deal with.
Morgan did not want to take over the KKR captaincy when Dinesh Karthik was going through a lean patch of form. It has gotten even worse for KKR this time, as Morgan, a foreign player unlike DK, is struggling for runs as well.
To give you a perspective into this, this season of the IPL has seen Morgan play 11 innings with the bat. Only in three of them has he posted a total more than 10 runs. That kind of form is simply not acceptable, and the fact that KKR actually managed to reach the playoffs is a miracle.
It is his great captaincy that helps him compensate in some way for his shambolic form with the bat. But the question on every KKR fan’s lips is this – can Morgan rediscover his form with the bat at a time like this?
When asked if he is aware and concerned about his form, Morgan said, “Absolutely, I am short of runs in this phase of the tournament, the whole tournament in general.
“I am very lucky to be in a position where I have been through stages like this in my career. I think the longer you go without contributing a significant score, the closer you are to actually contributing. And that’s coming from experience.”
“The purpose of T20 cricket is to be our most entertaining format. It is very appealing to the wider audience of sorts fans around the world.”
Speaking about KKR’s match in Dubai, Morgan commented, “I think an element of pure cricket was in the wicket today. If bowlers bowled in the right area, they got their due reward. The batsmen had to work a little bit harder.
“I think sometimes in T20, it is nice to have that element to give an insight into the real game of cricket as opposed to the ball flying everywhere and everything in the batsmen’s favour.”
Eoin Morgan’s finger breaking accident
Morgan sustained an accident that broke his finger while playing cricket. He was forced to sit out the remainder of England’s ODI series against the Indian Cricket Team.
While fielding in one of the matches, Morgan suffered a split webbing between his right hand’s thumb and index finger. The injury was relatively severe, and he had to take four stitches.
“I had the hand re-dressed before the start of training today, but it quickly became apparent that I found myself protecting the injury and getting into the wrong positions to catch the ball,” Morgan said.
“There’s nowhere to hide on the field in international cricket these days, especially in limited-over formats so it didn’t require any great thought to make myself unavailable.
“It was a freak injury and it’s extremely frustrating but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s now just a case of letting the cut heal. I have every confidence in Jos and the rest of the squad coping without me.”
It is possible he may be playing through the remnants of this injury. That could be the reason why he has been batting this poorly. If it is, then he deserves props for playing through the pain.
Unfortunately, it is also hampering KKR, and it is an obvious chink in the armour of the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise.
Moreover, Morgan will lead England in the T20 World Cup to come. England will be facing West Indies in the opening match, and that is not an easy game. A 100% fit Morgan would be a welcome boost for England.
Does KRR stand a chance in the playoffs?
At the time of writing, KKR will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator match. It is a high-stakes game, and Morgan will be eager to knock the Virat Kohli-led RCB out of the tournament.
KKR will be confident in the playoffs. Everyone had written them off before the second phase of the tournament had begun. However. KKR defied all the odds and managed to finish in the top 4.
A series of impressive performances, most notably a victory against longtime rival Mumbai Indians was the catalyst for the qualification. Even then, the qualification scene went down to the very last match of the group stage.
KKR faced Rajasthan Royals in their final group stage match. They ended up thrashing them and won by 86 runs. After posting a mammoth total of 171/4, of which Morgan contributed an unbeaten 13 runs, they bundled out RR for a paltry 85.
RCB have been better than previous years, and they will fancy their chances against KKR. Nevertheless, KKR has every chance to beat RCB, and could very well make the final too.
KKR are a formidable team. If Morgan can find his form and deliver big during these important games, they could go all the way and win the title.