KKR’s short-ball Struggles in IPL 2022

KKR’s struggles against the Short Ball has been a major factor behind their batting meltdown in 2022.

KKR are a team full of big hitters, and normally big-hitters are not known to be the lightest of their feet. In a team with Andre Russell, Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana and a pinch hitter like Sunil Narine, big runs are expected. Capable oppositions though are finding a way past KKR’s powerful middle-order.

For starters, against the Lucknow Super Giants, Shreyas Iyer and Andre Russell, both lost themselves to the short ball. Shreyas Iyer in general is a touch weak against the short-ball. When facing high pace at the chest he is at see, and despite all his class and aggression the rising ball often leaves him wanting.

When it comes to Andre Russell’s case, Russell is a player who relies on a strong base to find his power. With bowlers shifting from the yorker to a short ball, Andre Russell tends to find it tough there and that is what leads to his downfall as it did against the Lucknow Super Giants.

The MCA pitch at Pune assisted the bowlers as well. With steep bounce and the ball losing pace off the surface the batters struggled to take on the short ball. The tactic of attacking KKR’s power hitters was also used earlier by the Gujarat Titans. With pacers like Shami, Joseph and Ferguson in the mix, the attack was well placed to use the short-ball, and also restricted a rampaging Russell in the death overs.

While Andre Russell is capable of scoring of the short ball, and has a lot of runs against the short delivery, his aggression is where he falls prey. Going for the pull or hook he tends to find the fielder in the deep. His approach though is still better than his teammates as the others in the side generally struggle to score of short-balls while Russell still has enough in his Armory to take on the short ball or fail trying to do so.

Another victim of the rising ball was Nitish Rana. KKR’s Nitish Rana is known to have an issue with the short-ball and struggled as teams exploited his weakness on numerous occasions in previous seasons. The situation was once so bad that Nitish Rana went through a string of low scores. He still has an issue against he short-ball leaving KKR with three players in their top six that struggle against raw pace and bounce.

Another player who struggles against the bouncer is Sunil Narine. Sunil Narine has been used as a multi-utility player by KKR. He comes in to bat at the top of the order and sometimes drops down according to the situation. He was consistent at the top-order until his short ball weakness was exploited. Like Rana, Narine was exposed and dropped down the order to be used as a floater for when the spinners come on.

With four players struggling against the similar ball and only one out of those four able to find an aggressive counter-punch, KKR have a weakness that is relatively easy to exploit. GT did it a few weeks ago, LSG did it last week and Jasprit Bumrah single-handedly did it a couple nights ago.

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With three overs in the death, Jasprit Bumrah used the short-ball and back of the length delivery well to take five wickets and restrict KKR to a score lower than expected. The innings amplified KKR’s issue with the rising ball. Out of the top seven only Venkatesh Iyer and Rinku Singh seem relatively well equipped at the moment. With Venkatesh Iyer having a decent backfoot game and the ability to stand tall, he can take on the shorter balls and has done so well in the past.

Rinku Singh as well is a decent player who uses the ground well, and that has helped him find a way to score of a variety of deliveries. However, if KKR are to strengthen their batting they will need to find a way to tackle the short ball as some of their key members are struggling against it at the moment.