Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan’s move to send Nitish Rana as an opener worked wonders for the franchise as the latter struck a brilliant half-century at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Rana looked in brilliant form as he timed the ball beautifully and propelled Kolkata Knight Riders to a commanding 194/6 in 20 overs against Delhi Capitals in Indian Premier League match 42 on Saturday.Also Read - IPL 2022 Auction: David Warner, Ishan Kishan to Shreyas Iyer; Captaincy Options For Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

The 26-year-old Rana, who brought up his 10th half-century in the cash-rich T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi, dedicated the milestone to his late father-in-law. Rana’s father-in-law – Surinder had died of cancer recently. The batsman dedicated his knock by showing a jersey customised by KKR as a special tribute to him. Also Read - IPL 2022 Auction: Shreyas Iyer to Harshal Patel; Players Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Could Target

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After trying various batting combinations throughout the season, KKR found the perfect foil in Rana as he came to open the innings with Shubman Gill. However, Gill’s stay was cut short at the crease, as he was sent packing by in-form fast bowler Anrich Nortje for nine runs off eight deliveries.

Rana revelled in his new opening role with a whirlwind 81, while Sunil Narine smashed a 32-ball 64 to lift KKR from 44/2 in 8 overs to 194/6 in 20 overs. Rana smashed 13 fours and one six in his 53-ball 81, while Narine also came out all guns blazing, smacking four sixes and six fours as KKR put behind their horror show against Royal Challengers Bangalore to post a stiff total after being asked to bat.

The left-handed duo stitched together 115 runs from just 59 balls to seize the momentum. Having crumbled for 84 in their last match against RCB, KKR once again were staring down the barrel at 42/3 after 7.2 overs.

Nortje grabbed the wickets of the under-performing Gill (9) and Rahul Tripathi- 13 inside the Powerplay, while Kagiso Rabada accounted for Dinesh Karthik. Just when KKR’s tale of batting woes began to unfold, Rana came into do the rescue act, taking the attack to the experienced R Ashwin in an over that yielded 13 runs.

Rana first smacked Ashwin’s tossed up delivery for a six and followed it up with a boundary. In the next over, Narine joined in to continue KKR’s run feast in the back-end of the innings in an incredible partnership.

DC brought back Nortje but there was no respite for them and Rana brought up his fifty with an outside edge.

Narine then hammered Marcus Stoinis by hitting him for a six and a four making the formidable DC attack look mediocre.

For Delhi, Ashwin was the most expensive and looked ordinary, conceding 45 runs from his three overs, while Nortje – 2/27, Rabada – 2/33 and Stoinis – 2/41 took two wickets each.