Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who hit the winning runs for the side in the Eliminator, revealed that KKR have been in ‘knockout mode’ since the start of the UAE leg, and believes no team will take the Knight Riders lightly hereon owing to the confidence they’ve garnered.
The Knight Riders entered the UAE leg seventh in the table, with just two wins to their name, but an extraordinary turnaround saw them win five of their remaining seven matches to finish fourth. On Monday, the Eoin Morgan-led side then upset RCB to book their place in Qualifier 2, where they will be facing the Delhi Capitals.
Shakib, who has enjoyed success with the ball in the UAE leg, spoke highly of the side a day ahead of their encounter with the Capitals.
"The process we have been following so far, we will be following the same formula. Ever since we got to Abu Dhabi, or the UAE, We were in a knockout-mode and we have been overcoming all of those challenges one by one. A good thing about our team now is that the confidence level we are developing within the camp, no team will take us lightly,” Shakib told the KKR website.
Shakib choked the RCB batters with the ball in Sharjah, but he walked in to bat at a tricky time, with the Knight Riders needing 13 off 13 balls with just four wickets in hand. The veteran, however, kept his calm and took the side over the line, finishing on 9* off 6 balls.
Reflecting on his contribution with the bat, the 34-year-old revealed that he’s gotten used to pressure situations due to having garnered a mountain of experience.
"Pressure is always going to be there. But as professional players, we end up learning how to cope with it. Because I’ve been playing for so long and been representing my national team for so long, I’ve developed an ability to handle this kind of pressure," the all-rounder said.
Shakib played a valuable hand, but the star of the night against RCB was Sunil Narine, who took 4/21 with the ball before scoring a match-turning 26(15) with the bat to seal victory for the Knight Riders. The former Bangladesh skipper reckoned that Narine played ‘extraordinary cricket’.
"Sunil played extraordinary cricket yesterday. Both in batting and bowling. Yesterday was completely his day. I am very happy that his contribution won us the game," Shakib said.