KKR vs RR, IPL 2021

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“We know he heals fast. He proved that last year,” Morgan said of Russell’s fitness

When the IPL stopped midway through the year, the Kolkata Knight Riders struggled with two wins out of seven, but in the UAE they have won five games out of seven to seal a place in the playoffs that precludes a miracle from Mumbai Indians on the final day of the league. They have done so despite losing Lockie Ferguson and Andre Russell to injuries along the way. However, come with Eliminator against Royal Challengers Bangalore and they may have headaches in the selection as Russell is close to being battle-ready.

“He had a fitness test yesterday,” said David Hussey, Knight Riders’ chief mentor. “I think he might be a game away, so I think he will push hard to get back to the final [playoffs]. Which will be a huge boost, not only for us, but the competition. He is world class and he provides lots of entertainment. “

Captain Eoin Morgan pointed to Russell’s tendency to heal quickly. “We take it day by day,” Morgan said. “We know he heals fast. He has proven that last year. He got a two and a half inch thigh in the crack last year and came back in two weeks. He works incredibly hard and hopes we get through like everyone else other things.”

Eliminator is played on October 11, giving Russell at least three days to recover.

When Ferguson was healthy and ready, he took his place back immediately, even though his replacement Tim Southee did a good job in his absence. In Russell’s absence, Shakib Al Hasan has also filled in nicely. In the two matches that Shakib has played, he has not been required to hit, but has returned bowling figures of 4-0-20-1 and 1-0-1-1.

“Shakib Al Hasan comes in and performs the way he’s done the job of replacing Russell a little easier,” Morgan said. “Very difficult to replace him because you miss a real dough and a real bowler. Shakib has been fantastic and has contributed massively in the last two games.”

For the Knight Riders to miss a playoff spot, Mumbai will have to beat Sunriser’s Hyderabad by 171 runs or so, which is impossible. Even when they were consistent, Morgan did not see other matches that could affect his side’s chances, so it is unlikely he will see the final day of the league stages to ensure the formalities are completed.

Hussey said, however, that the rest of the page will see, but from the sound of it, it looks like they will not see Mumbai, but the Royal Challengers Bangalore, which they will face in their first playoff match, Unless the Royal Challengers beat the Delhi Capitals by 163 runs and qualified in the top two slots.

“We will see [the final day of the league stages] as a group, “Hussey said. Start formulating our plans, hopefully the result will go our way, but yes pretty much one eye is looking forward to the final [playoff] against Bangalore. “

Sidharth Monga is Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo


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