Kolkata Knight Riders’ star batsman Eoin Morgan on Tuesday said the team is wary of the threat posed by Rajasthan Royals’ rampaging top-order, marking Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson as the key men from the opposition ranks.
Rajasthan’s skipper Steve Smith has been reliable with two half-centuries, but it’s their No. 3 batsman Sanju Samson, who has grabbed the headlines this season with his sensational batting.
With Buttler also in the mix, KKR’s main target would be to stop the top-three, the reigning World Cup-winning England skipper said.
“The honest answer is that they are good players and you have to get them out. If they bat for 20 overs, you’re probably going to lose the game, particularly Buttler and Samson,” Morgan said in an interaction.
Rajasthan has notched 200-plus scores in both its matches and against Kings XI Punjab, they chased down an IPL record target of 224.
“They obviously have a very well-drilled and experienced side. I suppose the challenges from our point of view, is to try and focus on our own game to start with.
“If we can produce a performance and improve on the game, I think then that will allow us to execute strategies and plans for Smith, Buttler and Samson to try and make inroads.
“Steve Smith obviously is in fine form. They’ve had some good success in the limited games that they’ve played. Hopefully, we can build on our game, and produce our first win in Dubai,” he said.
Morgan was all praise for talented Indian youngster Shubman Gill, who saw the team through against Sunrisers Hyderabad, with an unbeaten 70.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen him bat in person. An impressive young man with a lot of potential. And I think a lot of hype probably comes with it.
“Watching him play against a very experienced Sunrisers attack was a joy to watch. Hopefully, that’s a start for him, kicking on and contributing more and more in our campaign this year,” Morgan said.
He also gave credit to their bowlers, especially Pat Cummins, who bounced back from his disastrous show against Mumbai Indians, to finish with impressive figures of 1 for 19.
“From the team’s perspective, I thought the bowlers bounced back beautifully from the first game. With ebb and flow throughout the tournament, I don’t think any side is going to go on unbeaten.
“Given the challenges across the three grounds — that no team has control over their own wickets — I think it’s going to be challenging for everybody.”
Morgan’s England teammate Jofra Archer will be the pace spearhead for the Royals and he hoped to negate his threat.
“He’s a very difficult opponent to come up against. It’s not his batting we’ll be worried about. It will be his bowling.
“Hopefully, we can negate that, make plans. He’s played in the IPL now for a long time so guys know him better than they have done before. So again, we need to play well enough to try and implement plans,” Morgan said.