Dinesh Karthik was an elated captain after Kolkata Knight Riders’ emphatic 25-run victory over Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday (May 23).
After being put into bat, KKR rode on Karthik’s fifty (52 runs off 38 balls) and all-rounder Andre Russell’s blazing 25-ball 49* to post 169/7 on the board.
While defending the total, Kolkata bowlers up their game by many folds to restrict Rajasthan to 144/4 in 20 overs. KKR bowlers conceded only 35 runs in the last 5 overs. There were three stand-out performers with the ball for Kolkata. While Chawla scalped 2 for 24 in his 4 overs, Prasidh Krishna and Kuldeep Yadav recorded the figures of 1/28 and 1/18 in their quota of overs respectively.
Reflecting on his team’s resounding victory, KKR skipper Karthik, while speaking at the post-match presentation said: "We were initially under the pump, so good on us to come back. In these kinds of games the score doesn't matter, it's about believing. The par scores don't matter, but just how much you believe. The bowlers have picked their game and have bowled some good balls.”
Hailing Shubman Gill (28 runs off 17 balls) and Russell’s special knocks when Kolkata were struggling at 106/5 in 14.2 overs, Karthik stated: "Credit to Shubman Gill. Absorbed all the pressure when he walked in. Before he got out, he played some lovely shots and eased the pressure off me, and then Andre (Russell) was just special."
KKR will now lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier at the Eden Gardens on Friday (May 25). The winner of Qualifier 2 will face Chennai Super Kings in the all-important final on Sunday (May 27).
"Every game is important from here on. Next game is important as there are two good teams which will be competing," Karthik signed-off.