Dinesh Karthik was an ecstatic captain after Kolkata Knight Riders’ thumping 31-run victory over Kings XI Punjab in Indore on Saturday (May 12).
Coming from a demoralizing 102-run defeat against Mumbai Indians, KKR batsmen improved their game by many folds to score a mammoth 245/6 in 20 overs against KXIP. Sunil Narine was the top-scorer for Kolkata with his swashbuckling 36-ball 75 whereas Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell contributed with a quick-fire 50 and 31 respectively.
Speaking after the match, KKR skipper Karthik said: “We batted really well and it was a convincing win. It’s a small ground so they also believe that they can hit a couple of sixes at any stage, and that puts the bowlers under a lot of pressure. Especially for the spinners, mishits can go for six so it becomes harder.”
Karthik was in full of praise for Narine, who laid the foundation for KKR’s gigantic total. The KKR captain feels Narine doesn’t himself as a pinch-hitter anymore.
“What I liked the most about him was that he was mature, he batted through. He doesn’t think of himself as a pinch-hitter anymore. He thinks of himself as a batsman who can contribute, which is big,” he remarked.
While defending the total, Kolkata restricted Punjab to 214/8 in 20 overs with Russell picking up 3 wickets in his 4 overs and Prasidh Krishna claiming two.
“Our seamers are coming through slowly. Prasidh has been quality, he’s bowled really well for us. Javon (Searles) was good, you know. He used his brains a lot, just mixed it up – I liked it. And when Andre fires, there’s no player like him, he’s special,” Karthik concluded.
Narine was deservedly adjudged Man of the Match for his jaw-dropping innings. Talking about his performance in the post-match presentation ceremony, the 29-year-old said: “I just try to stay as still as possible and make contact. Get as close to the ball as I can, and go after it, because the ground was small to hit a six have to be still. It was a flat wicket.”
“When the spinners were bowling, I just tried to back myself. Tried to keep it as simple as possible and hope for the best. If I bowl bad, it gives a chance to do well with the bat and vice versa. It helps as I can contribute somewhere in every game,” Sunil Narine signed-off.
It was Kolkata’s sixth win in this year’s IPL and they are currently placed at fourth spot on the points table. KKR will now play their next match against the Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday (May 15).