IPL 2022: Can Nitish Rana become a formidable middle-order batsman in t20I for India? Stats in favor of the batsman

Left-handed batsman, Nitish Rana has played a crucial role in the middle-order for Kolkata Knight Riders throughout the years. He adds value with his capability to stabilize the innings if the top-order collapses.

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Nitish Rana started his IPL journey in 2015. Back then, he was a part of the Mumbai Indians franchise. Rana has always been an integral part of the team to provide strength to the middle order. Rana rose to the limelight in 2016 when he played a spectacular knock of 70 runs off 36 balls. Representing MI against Gujarat Lions, now known as Gujarat Titans Mumbai was able to score 172 runs in the first innings, thanks to Rana’s power-hitting in the death overs. In his innings of 70 runs, Rana smashed seven boundaries and four sixes all around the ground. Even though Gujarat easily chased the target, the cricket world discovered a new face.

Another extraordinary performance by Rana for MI came up against Kings XI Punjab in 2017. Chasing a massive target of 199 runs, Jos Butler helped MI get a quick start with his explosive inning of 77 runs off 37 balls. After Butler’s dismissal, Rana took charge and played a breathtaking inning of 62 runs off 34 balls. His innings included seven massive sixes and took MI home with 4.3 overs remaining.

In 2018, Kolkata Knight Riders bought Nitish Rana for INR 3.4 CR. This year in the IPL mega-auction 2022, Rana was retained by KKR for a whopping INR 8 CR. The change in his Auction price itself shows how the cricketer has developed over the years and what significant position he holds for KKR.

The most memorable knock of Rana came against RCB in 2019. Chasing a total of 214, Rana played an exceptional knock of 85* off  46 balls. His innings included nine fours and five huge sixes. Russell also displayed his power-hitting masterclass at the end to keep KKR in the game. Unfortunately, KKR lost the match by ten runs. However, it served as a reminder of Rana’s ability to keep his cool and score runs quickly in challenging situations.

In 2019, Rana played a quickfire knock of 63 off 34 balls to take KKR’s score to 218 against Kings XI Punjab. Similarly, Rana played a sensible inning of 68 runs off 47 balls, chasing a target of 182 after a top-order collapse in the same season. This reveals how dynamic Rana can be depending on the situation and his ability to accelerate.

Rana has scored 300+ runs in the middle order six times since IPL 2017. The only other player to do so is Rishabh Pant. Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson have achieved this feat five times. In TATA IPL 2022, Rana scored 361 runs in 14 matches with a remarkable strike rate of 143.82. Considering Rana’s role in the middle order, a strike rate of 143.82 comes in handy. Since 2017, there has been no IPL season in which Rana failed to score more than 300 runs. This demonstrates his consistency and why he can be an effective batsman in the middle-order.