Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum said his team made some "silly mistakes" which cost them the game against Rajasthan Royals on Monday (April 18). Chasing a massive total of 217, Kolkata needed 40 runs in the last four overs and still had six wickets in hand. Skipper Shreyas Iyer was batting on 85 but that’s when Yuzvendra Chahal came into the attack and took four wickets, including a hat-trick, in the 17th over and took the game away from Kolkata.
"With four overs to go, we were in the driver's seat but then some silly mistakes and not being able to handle pressure as well as we should have cost us the game," said McCullum after KKR lost their third game in a row.
"From our point of view, we've had three losses in a row and we're going to have to find a way to keep our morale high which is so vitally important. There can be a tendency to run away from things when you haven't got across the line in a couple of key games. We just have to keep pushing ourselves, make sure we stick together and stay composed. We've been there before and it's going to test us again this time."
Kolkata made quite a few changes in their batting order. Sunil Narine was asked to open, while Venkatesh Iyer came into bat at No. 6. Shivam Mavi was sent ahead of Pat Cummins who walked in at No. 9. Eventually, neither of these moves worked and KKR lost the game by seven runs.
"Narine and Finch at the top was a good opportunity. We knew the wicket was good here, it was going to be a high-scoring game and we know how Sunil Nairne plays, but he didn't even get to face a ball tonight. That can happen, but Aaron Finch and Shreyas Iyer were absolutely brilliant at the top of the order for us. We also wanted to give Venkatesh the option in the middle against spin in particular against Ashwin and Chahal as he's a very good player of spin and with one short side, we wanted to try and maximize that,” said McCullum.
"We were trying to hold Pat Cummins for the seamers. Chahal has had a number on him on a number of occasions. Mavi's role was to get through that. Unfortunately, we weren't able to execute what we were meant to do there and we made a mistake. You can't allow good players like Chahal to enter the game when there's pressure on. We played a good game but just made a couple of silly mistakes.
"But that's what happens sometimes. Jos Buttler got a hundred on their side, Yuzi Chahal got a five-for including a hat-trick and we lost by seven runs, so we played a good game but ran second."
The KKR batters were outfoxed by Chahal and McCullum didn’t shy away from heaping heavy praise on the legspinner. "We had talked extensively leading into the game about how he was such a threat and we didn't want to give him wickets in key moments in games. If we had our time again, we'd have looked to play that over differently and we saw the impact he can have against the seamers in the last couple of overs with the ball sliding on."