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IPL 2024: Clarke terms Phil Salt as KKR’s X factor after successive batting heroics

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Kolkata, April 30 (IANS) Former Australia cricketer Michael Clarke lavished praise on Phil Salt, branding him an X factor within the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) team. He highlighted that the wicketkeeper-batter’s impact goes beyond merely the runs he accumulates, underscoring the significance of how he scored them.

Kolkata, April 30 (IANS) Former Australia cricketer Michael Clarke lavished praise on Phil Salt, branding him an X factor within the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) team. He highlighted that the wicketkeeper-batter’s impact goes beyond merely the runs he accumulates, underscoring the significance of how he scored them.

Salt hammered 68 runs in 33 deliveries, his fourth half-century of the season, adding 79 runs with opener Sunil Narine in the chase of 154, which guided the hosts to a seven-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.

With 392 runs off nine matches in IPL 2024, Salt now stands in the fourth position in the race for the Orange Cap.

“Yeah, it doesn’t hurt Phil Salt. He’ll be very happy with his performance tonight. He’s been very good, there’s no doubt about it. Again, he can find those boundaries, in just the 33 balls. He’s had a really good IPL so far and he’s such an important player for KKR. Like I say, it’s not just about the runs he’s scoring, but it’s also about the way he’s scoring them,” said Clarke on Star Sports Cricket Live.

Clarke further said that a lot of teams have got at least one destructive player in their top order but KKR have two in the form of Salt and Narine.

“That positive intent, he plays his spinners pretty well, very aggressive to the quicks. And when someone like him is in form, he’s that X factor. He’s that player that can really make a lot of difference like a lot of teams have got at least one of those players in their top three or four. KKR’s got two, they’ve got Narine and Salt who are very destructive and very dangerous,” he said.

Meanwhile, former India cricketer Varun Aaron lauded Varun Chakravarthy’s bowling performance against DC. The leg-spinner claimed the figures of 3-16 to restrict and adjudged the player of the match.

“The way Varun bowled today; he swung things in favour of KKR at home. He took all three very important wickets, including the captain. He bowled with a lot more flight, let the ball turn, and didn’t bowl that flat like he was bowling in previous matches. He needed this performance to boost his confidence, as he acknowledged after the presentation. Until now, he hadn’t been having the best tournament.

“It’s crucial for any team eyeing the playoffs and the title to have all their players performing at their peak, and that’s precisely what’s happening with Rajasthan. Every player is chipping in at different times, Jurel chipped in last night. Similarly, KKR would want all of their players to get the confidence going before they eventually qualify, which I think they will,” said Aaron.

With six wins in nine games, KKR are currently sitting second on the points table, two points behind table topper Rajasthan Royals.

Kolkata will next play Mumbai Indians on May 3 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

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