TODAY |

Brendon McCullum hits out at Kolkata batsmen for slow scoring

A disappointed Brendon McCullum has slammed his Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen after the IPL franchise fell to its fifth defeat in seven games.

The former New Zealand captain criticised the scoring rate and intent of his top order batsmen, as they stumbled to total of 154 on Friday night.

The under-par total was easily chased down by the Delhi Capitals with nearly four overs to spare.

"It's very, very disappointing," McCullum said.

"I think as a player, you ask to be given freedom and confidence and loyalty when it comes to selection, to go out there and take the game on and try and be aggressive... and to try and make things happen for your team.

"That's the style of play which both myself and the captain [Eoin Morgan] have asked of our players. But unfortunately we're not quite getting that. We're certainly not getting it in the abundance that we need.

"You're not always going to be able to hit every ball for four or six, but you can have the intent to do so, particularly when you're given a free licence.

"It's very difficult if you don't play shots to score runs, and unfortunately tonight we didn't play enough shots. It's become a bit of a theme.

"A saying that I've used throughout my career is that 'If you can't change a man, change the man.'

"It's incredibly disappointing because I've asked time and time again for us to be more aggressive and more expressive and take the game on, and we continue to not do it. So we're going to have to make some changes for sure."

It was a clear message to the likes of opening batsmen Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill, who have both struggled to get going so far in the tournament.

Both have a strike rate of less than 125, and have been culpable of soaking up too many deliveries in the early stages of games.

The Delhi Capitals' victory was led by star opening batsman Prithvi Shaw, who smashed a 41-ball 82, 24 of which remarkably came in the first over.

"What we saw from Prithvi Shaw tonight was the perfect template of how we want to play," McCullum said.

The Knight Riders are sixth on the eight-team IPL table through seven games, and are likely to drop further as the Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad still have a game in hand.