Shreyas Iyer and Co. lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore because of a poor batting display but Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum was still pleased with the intent his batters showed on Wednesday (March 30). On a surface that was offering variable bounce, Kolkata were bundled out for 128 in 18.3 overs. They were reduced to 44/3 in the powerplay but the likes of Iyer, Sunil Narine, Sam Billings and Andre Russell kept playing their shots, however, things didn’t quite go as planned.
"I actually loved the intent to be honest, I thought the intent was great. You back the fact that you are playing the extra batter and you are playing a long batting lineup. You don't anticipate getting bowled out obviously. Honestly, I felt like we didn't have a lot of luck today. To be honest, every time we sort of went for the aggressive option, we seemed to find a fielder or things didn't quite go our way. So that can happen sometimes as well," said McCullum.
"But I want us to continue to keep that in the team because that's what served this side so well last year. And I think you know the way we've set our team up with the auction, the players that we picked that suits them as well. Sometimes you get to go a little bit too hard. But now we know where the line is and if we can add a little bit of craft with the wickets we're coming up against and look to use the bounce as our friend rather than our foe then I think it gives us a good chance. But not quite enough runs but I was pleased with the intent. A little bit of luck and things could have been different.
Talking about the surface at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, McCullum said: "Tonight's wicket was a bit different. It really did have that kind of tennis ball sort of sponge bounce to it, which made batting very difficult and particularly stroke-making. Whether that continues, I'm not too sure. I guess like later in the tournament after so much use we might see it slow down somewhat, but I liked it. I thought it was good. Good contest, good spectacle and it's not always about 200 played 195. I thought it was a thrilling game and both teams played their part in that."
Despite posting a below-par total, Kolkata’s bowling unit did a commendable job and managed to take the game to the final over. Tim Southee and Umesh Yadav were superb in the powerplay, while Sunil Narine conceded only 12 runs in his four overs. Andre Russell injured his shoulder while fielding and that forced Shreyas Iyer to give the penultimate over to Venkatesh Iyer. Bowling his first over of the game, Venkatesh conceded two boundaries and that made things easier for RCB going into the final over. With only seven runs to win, Dinesh Karthik smashed Russell for a six and a four and got RCB over the line with four deliveries to spare.
“Low scoring games it's going to be sort of finite moments which determine success and failure. So I think we back all of our players in those big moments. Unfortunately, it's not always going to come off. Dre (Russell) had run around the boundary and dived and to stop that boundary for us which was fantastic. Unfortunately, he just picked up a little bit of a bump, which made his shoulders a little bit sore. But Dre being Dre he still wanted to try and get the job done and he wasn't quite able to, but look those are things which happen in low-scoring games as well.
"In terms of Venkatesh Iyer, he is certainly a bowling option for us and when you play that extra better, you're trying to share your four overs between the likes of Andre Russell, Venkatesh Iyer and even Nitish Rana as well. But yeah, as the tournament definitely gets deeper as well, I think Venkatesh Iyer has got a huge role to play with the ball for us and certainly helps us to try and balance our side. So look for that in the games to come, no doubt."