BBL record-breaker’s IPL struggles continue
D'ARCY Short's struggles against spin in the IPL continued as the Australian Twenty20 star scored a scrappy 44 off 43 balls as his Rajasthan Royals were beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders.
While the score of 44 was a step in the right direction for Short - it is only the second time he has passed 10 across his four IPL innings thus far and the first time he has reached 20 - the Australian was laborious against the Knight Riders' quartet of spinners.
The 27-year-old set a new record in last summer's Big Bash League for most runs in a campaign (572 at 57.20 with a strike rate of 148.57), earning a $775,000 payday at January's IPL auction along the way. However, that success has not translated on the slow surfaces of India.
Across four matches he has scored 65 runs at an average of just 16.25. Worryingly for Rajasthan those runs are coming slowly too (97.01 runs per 100 balls).
Run out in his first two innings, Short has fallen to spin in his past two knocks. On Wednesday he had his stumps pegged back by offspinner Nitish Rana.
Spinners Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and Rana bowled 10 steady overs between them for the Riders on Wednesday, sharing four wickets for 52 runs as they contained Rajasthan, batting first, to 8-160. Narine (0-48 off four overs) was the most expensive of Kolkata's bowlers.
In reply, Robin Uthappa (48 off 36) and captain Dinesh Karthik (42 not out off 23) led Kolkata to 3-163 in 18.5 overs, despite the loss of hard-hitting Australian Chris Lynn in the first over without scoring.
"It feels good to get two wins on the trot," Karthik said after the seven-wicket victory.
"The wristspinners are a little harder to pick, which is why we bowled them at the start."
Only captain and Short's fellow opener Rahane (36) looked fluent against the spinners after Karthik won the toss and opted to field. Rahane struck four successive boundaries off Narine's first four deliveries before he was stumped by Karthik off Rana's offspin in the seventh over.
Short was then bowled by Rana in the 13th over before legspinner Chawla, who opened the bowling, had Rajashtan's big-money England signing Ben Stokes (14) caught in his return spell as Kolkata struck with regular intervals to restrict Rajasthan.
In reply, Narine made up for his earlier bowling with a 35-run knock off 25 balls and shared 70-run stand with Uthappa after Lynn was clean bowled by offspinner Krishnappa Gowtham (2-23) in the first over.
But Rajasthan's seamers struggled against a strong Kolkata batting line-up as Uthappa hit six fours and two sixes before holing out in the deep off Gowtham.
Karthik and Rana (35 not out) then put on 61 runs for the match-winning fourth- wicket stand off 38 balls as none of the Rajashtan seamers could pose any threat.
Karthik, who hit two fours and two sixes, brought off the victory in style with six balls to spare when he hoisted Australian seamer Ben Laughlin over long-on. "I thought we were 15-20 short," Rahane said. "This wicket was on the slower side, it was keeping a bit low, but no complaints. I felt our intensity was a little bit down today."
Kolkata now have six points from five matches and are joint leaders with Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have won all of their three games.