Kolkata Knight Riders were off to a flying start in their IPL 2021 campaign with a 10-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai on Sunday. Much of the credit for the win goes to Nitish Rana, who played a flawless 56-ball 80 knock to power KKR to a strong 187/6 in the first innings.
His innings, which included a 53-run partnership top of the order with Shubman Gill (15 off 13) followed by 93-run stand with Rahul Tripathi for the second wicket, saw him smashed nine boundaries and four maximums in a cracker of an innings which came to an end in the 17th over with 160 runs on the board.
Known for his flamboyant batting style, the 27-year-old southpaw said going after the ball if its in his comfort zone was always the plan for the beginning and that's what happened from the word go when he shot Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a boundary at the very first delivery of the match. Rana added that he also felt at home facing the quality spin bowling of the SRH spinners, which included two Afghan mystery spinners in Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, as facing spin is in his blood.
"I thought the ball was in my slot (first ball, off Bhuvneshwar) and luckily I got a four. My game-plan is always that if the ball is in my slot I'll try to hit it. I was backing myself and looking to hit balls. I've been playing spin since childhood, so in a way, it's in my blood," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.