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With qualification on the line for Kolkata, Eoin Morgan and co. needed one of their top order plays to fire in all cylinders against Chennai in the Dream11 IPL 2020 on Thursday. And after opening the batting, Nitish Rana took the onus on himself as he ensured Kolkata got to a competitive total, in an excellently compiled innings. The 26-year-old’s innings powered his side to 172 in their 20 overs, with his innings contributing more than 50% of his team’s total.
Opening the batting with Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana took his time to assess the conditions and had mustered only 10 from his 15 deliveries on Thursday. However, with left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner bowling the final over of the powerplay, the 26-year-old opened the floodgates, finding the boundary regularly. The wickets of Gill and Narine meant that the elegant left-hander had to keep his shots in check, and reached his half-century off 44 deliveries.
Soon after reaching the milestone, Rana took a toll on the Chennai bowlers and took a special liking to Karn Sharma, depositing him for three consecutive sixes in the 16th over of the innings. The Kolkata star's late assault meant that the two-time champions ended with a strong score of 172, far more than what was touted at one stage. Rana's 87 off 61 was also his best-ever effort in the Dream11 IPL, bettering the 85* he scored against Bangalore last year.
After finding his feet in the Dream11 IPL with Mumbai, Nitish Rana came onto his own after being signed up by Kolkata in 2018. The 26-year-old had aggregated more than 650 runs for the franchise over the past two seasons and has established himself as a vital cog in their middle order. The former Mumbai star has been in fine form during the Dream11 IPL 2020 and has aggregated 352 runs so far, his best-ever tally in a Dream11 IPL season.
Rana's efforts have been crucial for Kolkata, and Eoin Morgan and Co. will hope that the 26-year-old can keep up his form as they make a dash for playoff qualification. His 87 against Chennai was his second half-century in three games and his fourth this season and his 11th overall in the tournament.
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