In their final league match of the Indian Premier League, the Kolkata Knight Riders produced an all-around performance to register a comprehensive 86-run win against the Rajasthan Royals at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. With 14 points and a Net Run Rate of 0.59, the boys in Purple and Gold are currently fourth in the points table and have nearly sealed their position in the playoffs courtesy of a commanding win.
In the post-match press conference, David Hussey, the mentor of the side, shared insights on the performance of the team in this crucial encounter. "Well, firstly, it is never easy playing on these types of surfaces. I think Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi showed their class once again and adapted their game accordingly. They knew if they take it deep in the batting innings, they're going to make a decent target. With the ball, pretty simple plans, bowl as fast as you can and hit the stumps. We have world-class spinners as well, and we back each other up in the field, and it was very much a team performance tonight, "he said.
After posting a mammoth total of 171 runs for the loss of four wickets, the pace bowling unit wreaked havoc as Shivam Mavi (4/21), and Lockie Ferguson (3/18) scalped seven wickets to derail the batting department of the Royals. "I think they complement each other well, and our bowling coaches Kyle Mills and Omkar, talk about bowling in partnerships. Our spinners complement the quicks, and Lockie Ferguson and Mavi have just shown their class again. I think Lockie is arguably one of the best T20 bowlers in the world, and tonight his first two overs have changed the tempo and the momentum of the game for us, "Hussey said.
While the Knight Riders have been missing the services of Andre Russell in the past couple of games, all arounder is expected to be on the park soon. "He had a fitness test yesterday, and I think he is maybe just a game away. He is pushing hard over the next few days to get back in for the final, which will be a huge boost for us and the competition as well. He is world-class and provides lots of entertainment," Hussey revealed.
The former Australian player also credited the role of Brendon McCullum in changing the fortunes of the side in the second leg of the tournament. "The break probably did us a world of good; we got to refresh and recharge our batteries, replan and come to Abu Dhabi, where we all met. Abhishek Nayar did a great training session, and all the boys got a lot of volume and are ready to go. I think with Brendon, he is so cool and calm that he has got this plan and vision for this team to go forward, and he believes in every player to play at their best. He makes everybody feel that they are the most important person in the team, and I think Brendon should take a lot of credit for the way everybody is playing, "he concluded.