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Photo : BCCI/IPL   

Pandit’s Gamble Pays Off As Venketesh Iyer Steers KKR To Big Win

Without giving a smidgeon of trumpeting his decision to promote Venketesh Iyer from lower order to opener, Chandrakant Pandit said: “Aisa he bhej Diya, upar batting kar ne ke liye,” (just like that, I sent him to open the innings). Pandit was known as a smart cookie, as a player and captain. And as coach of Madhya Pradesh last year Pandit did not want to see talent go waste. After seeing Iyer — the latest IPL sensation with the bat — perish under pressure in the death overs of the Syed Mushtaq  Ali Twenty20, he liberated the left-hander by asking him to blast for runs in the first power play of six overs when only two fielders are allowed outside the inner 30 yard ring. Getting the big break in Kolkata Knight Riders’ first outing at Abu Dhabi, Iyer pummelled all comers against RCB and repeated the show against Mumbai Indians. His 41* against RCB came at a strike rate of 151.85 and 53 against MI at a strike rate of 176.67. And KKR cantered to easy wins and position itself in the top four of the points table. So far, he has repelled the likes of Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Trent Boult, Adam Milne and Jasprit Bumrah. And the former India stumper, Pandit is mightily pleased with Iyer’s pyrotechnical display at the top.