Talking Points - Chris Lynn delivers knockout Powerplay performance

Chris Lynn drills one past mid-off BCCI

They say that if you can really up the ante in the last few overs of the first innings of a T20 match, it can really deflate the opposition, and stick the momentum firmly on your side.

Sam Curran's 24-ball 55 not out, including 22 runs in the last over, bowled by Harry Gurney, certainly made Kings XI the happier side at the break, and Knight Riders needed a start frenetic enough to snatch that momentum back, and away. Enter Chris Lynn, and in 22 Powerplay deliveries, he had put the pressure right back on Kings XI.

He started quietly enough, but then got stuck into young Arshdeep Singh, taking three fours in the fourth over of the chase, and then hit R Ashwin for a four and a six in the fifth, and Andrew Tye for a six and four in the sixth before falling off the last ball of the Powerplay. The 46 he scored was also his best Powerplay performance this season - comfortably topping the 38 he had scored in 26 balls against Chennai Super Kings in Kolkata - both in terms of runs scored and strike rate.

Gill at 'home' at the top of the innings

We go back to Andre Russell saying the other day, that Knight Riders "have a good team", but were "making bad decisions". That's when the team was in the middle of a win-drought. A change in the script, winning a match they had to win to stay in the running for a playoff spot does make it seem like some good decisions were taken, and we think one of them was in not being predictable.

  • Sticking with Sandeep Warrier instead of Prasidh Krishna, who had done well in patches but had been really expensive in his last few games

  • Shubman Gill opening the innings on a ground he is very familiar with turned out to be a masterstroke. Not that Gill hadn't opened before in IPL 2019 - he had thrice before, and now has three fifties in four innings at the top - but the temptation must have been to go with Sunil Narine after Kings XI put up 183 for 6. Knight Riders went with Gill, and were rewarded with a 49-ball unbeaten 65, the 19-year-old batting through the innings to take the team home.

  • Russell was again given a lot of balls to face, having been sent in at No. 4 midway through the 11th over. It showed intent on the part of Knight Riders, an example of the team learning from its earlier mistakes, and the 24 he struck in 14 balls went some distance in helping them win with two overs to spare and boost their net run rate.

Curran picks his targets, and spots

Curran's 55 not out off 24 balls was his first really significant innings in the IPL, and his performance suggested that he had learnt from his previous six outings with the bat.

He had been out twice to the variations of legspinner Sandeep Lamichanne, in Kings XI's two games against Delhi Capitals, so he wisely played Knight Riders' leggie, Piyush Chawla, cautiously. He had also struggled against Royal Challengers Bangalore offspinner Moeen Ali, trying to hit the ball square of the pitch before missing a reverse sweep and being trapped lbw.

Against Knight Riders' Sunil Narine, Curran looked to hit straight, getting both his boundaries in the long-on region. He went straight against the seamers too but mixed it up with some shots to fine leg.

His reading of the slower balls was impressive. Against Mumbai Indians, he had fallen to a Jasprit Bumrah slower ball, but here, he anticipated a short slower one from Russell, walked across his stumps and slapped the ball to fine leg, and then, in the final over, waited on a Harry Gurney slower one and hit it down the ground for six.

Pooran - a better No. 4 than Miller?

David Miller is not the best batsman against spin. He doesn't get out to spinners too often, but since 2017, his strike rate against spinners - in all T20s - has been 116.83. Nicholas Pooran, in contrast, has scored at 139.33 against spinners in the same period. The sample size in Pooran's case is smaller than Miller's though.

As a result, Pooran, especially against a team like Kolkata Knight Riders, was Kings XI's choice for No. 4 ahead of Miller, as he showed with a 27-ball 48 before toe-ending Nitish Rana to the midwicket fence. Miller was left on the bench for the game.

Before this game, in his IPL 2019 appearances, Pooran had batted at No. 4 only once, in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and had scored a 10-ball 21. This time, he was even better. He hit Piyush Chawla for a six and a four in the eighth over, and another six in the tenth over, but was quiet against Sunil Narine - remember that maiden Super Over Narine bowled to Pooran in the 2014 Caribbean Premier League?

Miller has had an underwhelming tournament, with 213 runs in 10 outings, with an average of 26.62 and strike rate of 129.87. Pooran might have done enough in his latest innings to keep that No. 4 spot for himself in whatever matches Kings XI Punjab have left in the tournament.

When you're not happy and you know it, wave your hand

It was interesting to see Dinesh Karthik looking a lot more animated than he usually is soon after the Powerplay. A meltdown, we called it on our ball-by-ball coverage, and it certainly looked like it, Karthik waving his gloved hands about and - from the looks of it - letting it rip. He even gave his team an animated talk during the strategic time out.

What it was about, we didn't know at the time. Was it about the murmurings of discontent in the ranks that we have been talking about?

Karthik answered it after the game, saying, "I wasn't too happy with the way the fielders and bowlers were doing, the body language. The kind of things I didn't expect from them. So I thought I'd let the boys know what I felt about it."

With inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman and Shamya Dasgupta