Kuldeep Yadav was Kolkata Knight Riders’ surprise weapon as they sealed an IPL play-off berth with a 22-run win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday and the rookie left-arm chinaman bowler said it was his backroom strategy against the visiting side that did the trick. (Fixtures | Squads)
Yadav (2/28) dismissed a well-set Shikhar Dhawan (51) to trigger Sunrisers’ collapse and help KKR restrict them to just 149 for 8.
“I had seen some videos of Dhawan. I was trying to contain him with singles and twos and not allow him to hit boundaries and sixes. I was trying to bowl according to the field. I bowled a wrong’un and got his wicket,” Yadav, who played his second match of the season, told a news conference after his side’s win.
Yadav, who had played KKR’s second match of the season — against Mumbai Indians — more than a month ago, replaced experienced leg-spinner Piyush Chawla on Sunday.
“There was pressure when you replace a senior player and especially in the last round. But I was happy at the same time. The way I kept on bowling it released the pressure gradually,” he said.
With Sunday’s win, KKR may face the same opponents in the eliminator and Yadav said it would be an added advantage.
“If we take them in the play-offs, it will be an added advantage having beaten them in the last round. We will have to keep it simple, knowing their weakness.”
Looking to score 200 plus following a strong start, KKR could not finish well as they scored just 50 runs and lost three wickets in last five overs and Yadav gave credit to Sunrisers’ pace attack.
PHOTOS: KKR seal passage into playoffs
“They bowled very well at the death. It was not easy for batting in the last five overs and they bowled according to plan. There was good execution as well,” said Yadav.
Sunrisers seamer Bhuvenshwar Kumar said the loss should serve as a wake up call to their team ahead of their play-offs match.
“We didn’t get the momentum going. We knew we were already in the play-offs and were playing for the top two places. Now we have to switch off and start afresh,” he said.
The Sunrisers middle-order failed to capitalise on the start given by Dhawan as they were restricted for 149 for 8 but Kumar backed his batsmen.
“Mostly our top order has played up to 10-12 overs and the middle order has got hardly any chance. If they got more opportunity, they would have scored more runs,” he said.
“We started losing wickets in the middle after Dhawan’s wicket which brought our downfall.”
There will be India team selection tomorrow for Zimbabwe tour but the leading wicket taker of IPL said he has stayed focused.
“You always take it positively. I’m not thinking much about selection. My focus is only on playoffs at the moment. It’s not in my hand so I don’t think much about that.”
He’s sharing the dressing room with in-from left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman but Bhuvneshwar said it’s difficult to learn from the Bangladeshi who has a difficult action.
“His action is such that it’s difficult to pick anything from him. His action is deceptive and there’s also a language barrier. But he shares small small things which will help the Indian team when we take Bangladesh in future.”