Abu Dhabi: Lusty hitting late in the innings by spinner Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana helped Kolkata Knight Riders overcome Delhi Capitals by three wickets in a low-scoring encounter in the UAE leg of the IPL 2021 here on Tuesday.
After restricting Delhi Capitals to 127/9 in 20 overs thanks to some disciplined bowling after electing to field, Kolkata Knight Riders looked in trouble as Dinesh Karthik was out with score on 96/5. But Sunil Narine tonked Kagiso Rabada for 21 off the inning’s 16th over and though the Knights lost another wicket, they managed to reach 130/7 with 10 balls remaining. Rana remained unbeaten on 36.
KKR thus moved to 10 points from 11 matches and maintained their chances of reaching the knockout stage.
Sunil Narine, Player of the Match, said, ‘ Watching a few games, there’s a little for the spin even though it’s a big ground. It’s just about not getting too full and with slight variations, try to be on top of the batters as much as possible as you can. I have been through a lot. I have to give thanks to my bowling coach, he has been doing a fantastic job with me. All credit needs to go to him. And KKR for putting in the effort to always have him around. That’s a plus plus and that’s probably the key for my comeback. It’s taken a while but I am feeling much more confident. Hopefully I can continue in games to come. It is a bit challenging, batting in the middle-order. Any situation that I am given, I just like to make the best use of it and hopefully it can come out more often. It is pleasing to see hard work finally paying off after a long time. I think we are playing some good cricket, we have little niggles now, we have some thinking to do. But saying that, we are playing good cricket and we have good guys to come in and I think we are in a good spirit at the moment.’
Eoin Morgan, KKR (winning) captain, said, ‘Delighted. It’s been a tough 48 hours, playing two day games in three days, and we’ve come off today with a few war wounds and injuries. Winning the toss and fielding wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but if you make it work, then it’s worthwhile. The difference in the number of sixes (DC 0, KKR 7), was knowing when to push the button and when not to. Sunil Narine was a huge part of that, and the top order target them when they had the advantage. They timed their assault really well, say with the new ball against the spinners. When you play on an outfield that’s so slow, if you bowl KG (pace), then it can come back and hurt you. It was a well-fought game and we think we came out on the right side. (About the banter) Both teams played really hard, and we played in the right spirit, and in the heat, things can boil over. I think it’s in the water in Abu Dhabi (jokes), how we’ve turned things around, but I think the head coach, Baz gets the full credit. The guys have bought into his methods and it’s awesome to see it implemented.’
Rishabh Pant, Delhi Capitals captain, said, ‘ I think we were 10 runs short, not much. We knew that the wicket would slow down in the second innings. But end of the day each and every team is trying to win the match and we just want to give our 100% on the given day. If it goes our way it’s fine, if it doesn’t we will learn from our mistakes and move on. It (batting) was pretty difficult specially for the new batsmen because the wicket was getting slower and slower. We just tried to dig in as long as possible so that we can capitalise in the end, but we lost some wickets later on. Because of that we were 10 runs short. Really happy (with the bowling performance) but at Delhi Capitals, we learn from our mistakes. I don’t think there is a massive change that we have to do as a bowling unit, just some little things but we’ll learn from our mistakes and move onto the next one.’