Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders' Nitish Rana in action during the 43rd match of IPL 2019 between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Dubai, Oct 29 : After Nitish Rana was promoted to the opening slot a couple of matches ago, Nitish Rana has given Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) what they have been lacking throughout the Indian Premier League (IPL) season -- a batsman who can play a long innings and take them to a big total.

Rana had been batting at No.3 before the game against Delhi Capitals on October 24. It may only be one place higher but being promoted to the top of the order has evidently had a positive effect -- his score of 87 against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday was his second 80-plus score in the last three innings.

The left-hander hit 10 fours and four sixes on the way to his highest score in the IPL, and played a key role in helping KKR to a total of 172 for five in 20 overs.

In the game against Delhi Capitals, he had smashed 81 off 53 balls with 13 boundaries and a six as KKR's 194 was enough for them to secure a comfortable win.

The Delhi-based Rana had just one half century in this season before the last three games, a 58 against Delhi Capitals on October 3.

"Rana is a terrific talent. Happy for him. He's a guy who can score big if he's set. He's always been among the runs," said KKR wicket-keeper and former captain Dinesh Karthik after their innings on Thursday.

One of the key aspects of Rana's batting has been his approach in powerplay.

Rana has not gone after the bowlers from the first ball. He has, instead, been measured, scoring 13 off his 14 balls against DC and 24 off 22 balls against CSK on Thursday, before opening up and managing good strike rates in the end. In the game against DC he finished with a strike rate of 152.83 and against CSK he ended with a strike rate of 142.62.

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