Aakash Chopra feels an Indian team call-up might be around the corner for left-handed opening batsman Nitish Rana if he continues playing match-defining knocks like the one he played for KKR in their win against SRH.
Nitish Rana scored a belligerent 80 off just 56 deliveries to help the Kolkata Knight Riders set an imposing 188-run target for the Sunrisers Hyderabad to chase in their IPL 2021 encounter on Sunday.
The Eoin Morgan-led side eventually walked home as the winners by a margin of 10 runs despite Manish Pandey’s fighting unbeaten 61, Jonny Bairstow’s 55, and Abdul Samad’s late blitz. The latter scored an unbeaten 19 off 8 balls and looked threatening.
Aakash Chopra: If Nitish Rana Keeps Playing Like This An Indian Call-up Isn’t Too Far For Him
Aakash Chopra said the southpaw Nitish Rana could soon earn a maiden India call-up if he keeps performing consistently while praising his knock in a video shared on his YouTube channel. Nitish Rana who recovered after testing Covid-19 positive earlier top-scored with 80 which included 9 fours and 4 sixes.
“Nitish Rana batted amazingly well after KKR were asked to bat first. If he keeps playing like this, an Indian team call-up might not be too far for him. There is a possibility,” said Aakash Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted how Nitish Rana played the enforcer’s role to perfection during his partnership with Shubman Gill.
“When you play on this pitch, it is necessary to capitalize on the new ball. There Nitish Rana was running ahead of Shubman Gill and was not hesitating to take risks. Whenever he opens, his graph is up and down, with alternating 80s and zeroes. When he got out the team’s score was 160, fifty percent runs had come from his bat,” added Aakash Chopra.
Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill added 53 runs for the first wicket off seven overs, with the lanky right-hander’s contribution being 15.
Aakash Chopra Stressed Nitish Rana’s Partnership With Rahul Tripathi Took Game Out Of SRH’s Reach
Aakash Chopra pointed out Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi’s second-wicket partnership had almost taken the game out of SRH’s reach. Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi strung together a 93-run partnership for the 2nd wicket as KKR reached 146 in only 16th over. Rahul Tripathi scored 53 off 29 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes.
“Till the time Rana and Rahul were batting it seemed like it was a totally one-sided game and KKR will reach around the 200-run mark. Both batted very well,” said Chopra.
The former KKR player concluded by observing that Nitish Rana remained aggressive right through his innings and was comfortable against both pace and spin.
“Nitish Rana hit a boundary off the first ball and after that was continuously hitting the fours and sixes against both spin and fast bowling. He is actually a very decent player,” signed off Aakash Chopra.
While Nitish Rana has showcased his potential as an opener recently, he might find it difficult to gain entry into the Indian team with the likes of KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, and Shikhar Dhawan already fighting for the spot. However, his name could be considered in case any injury or form-related issues are afflicting the aforementioned batsmen.
Dinesh Karthik was unbeaten on 22 off 9 balls while the likes of Andre Russell (5), Shakib Al Hasan (3), and Eoin Morgan (2) were dismissed while trying to hit big shots. Prasidh Krishna then picked the wickets of David Warner and Mohammad Nabi at a crucial stage.
Pat Cummins and Shakib Al Hasan picked 1 wicket apiece and both conceded less than 35 runs. Manish Pandey’s unbeaten 61 and Jonny Bairstow’s 55 kept SRH in the hunt. SRH batsman Abdul Samad hit 2 sixes in the penultimate over but bowler Andre Russell kept his nerve in the final over as KKR won by 10 runs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner(c), Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan(c), Dinesh Karthik(w), Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy