A nail-biting three-wicket win against the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 powered the Kolkata Knight Riders to the summit clash of this edition of the Indian Premier League. The boys in Purple and Gold will take on the Chennai Super Kings on Friday, 15th October, at the Dubai International Stadium.
Chasing 136 runs for a place in the finale, the opening combination of the Knight Riders laid a solid foundation for the side with a 96-run partnership. In the post-match presentation, David Hussey heaped praises on the performance of Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer by saying, "The opening partnership that we had between the two opening players was just class personified. They complement each other really well; if one player is going, the other one sits back and gives the other person the strike. I think they run between the wickets very well, and they get on famously off the park, so we have definitely found a nice opening partnership, and hopefully, it continues for one more game."
The 26-year old left-hander recorded his third half-century of the league and helped the side inch closer to the target with a sublime 55 off 41 deliveries. "We have found a player in Venkatesh Iyer; not only is he a classy player, but he is a wonderful person and a wonderful team man as well. I thought he struck the ball superbly today, and from ball one, I think some of the big sixes he hit today actually changed the tempo of the game and got us into a winning position, " said Hussey.
The Chief Mentor of the side also credited the role of skipper Morgan and his astute captaincy in the league that helped the team reach the finals. "I think the break at the halfway stage of the IPL definitely helped, but I truly believe that Morgan is captaining really well. He is marshalling the troops, and he is tactically very clever, and the bowling changes have been spot on, and I think that has contributed to our success this time around, " he said.
With two wins in seven matches in the first leg of the tournament, the Knights have turned around in the UAE leg of the competition and stormed their way into the finals. Hussey credited the role of Brendon McCullum for the change in the fortunes of the side by saying, "It is unheard of what he has done here; it is remarkable. We were seventh on the table, not playing great cricket, and he has just turned it around and given everybody a fresh lease of life and freshened up the place. Everybody is happy, everybody is smiling, and he should take a lot of credit for what he has been able to accomplish in this part of the IPL. "
The Knight Riders will take confidence from their performance in the two finals of the IPL in 2012 and 2014 and look to clinch their third championship on Friday against the Super Kings in Dubai. "In terms of the grand final and the record that we have, it is a great record to go into the grand final. You do take a bit of confidence from that, but playing against the Chennai Super Kings, who have barely missed the finals in the history of the IPL, so it is going to be a great contest. Chennai Super Kings are very well-coached, and I know walking into the dressing room tonight, all the boys cannot wait to get to Dubai and play on Friday night, " he concluded.