Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir said it was a big gamble to push Suryakumar Yadav up the order but he is happy it paid off as they notched up a thrilling two-wicket win over Pune Supergiants in a hard-fought IPL encounter in Pune on Sunday. (Fixtures | Squads)
Suryakumar was asked to bat at number three after Manish Pandey, who is down with chicken pox, was left out of the playing XI.
The Maharashtra cricketer blasted a 49-ball 60 to guide KKR to their third successive win.
“It is a very important win because me and Robin did not perform. Suryakumar, the way he batted, it was unbelievable,” Gambhir said after Umesh Yadav blasted a six in the last ove to take Kolkata home, reaching 162-8, with three balls to spare here.
“Manish was a big blow, so to push someone like Surya was a big gamble. He gives us a lot of options.”
Gambhir, however, said they need to improve in their bowling department.
“We didn’t bowl really well. In the last 3-4 overs, we could be more professional. I thought they would end up getting 145. We need to pick up our bowling socks. Overall, more positives than the negatives,” he added.
Suryakumar, who was adjudged Man of the Match, said: “I was told by my captain, that I have to express myself. Carrying my form from the last game. I did not finish the game but happy that it came in a winning cause. First 8 overs would have been crucial because later it was difficult for the batsmen to capitalise. Winning against this challenging side on this wicket, it shows good signs.”
Disappointed to end up on the losing side for the fourth time in five matches, Pune Supergiants skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed their bowlers and said there are many areas where his team needs to work before the next match.
“It was difficult to hit the spinners. When I got time, I told the spinners not to bowl up to the batsmen. Still five were hit. 30 runs were scored. No excuses for us,” he said.
“It’s not about what should have happened. It’s about how you execute your plans in the field. That is when you relish it and what it takes to win games in the pressure.
“We are definitely lacking it, especially the bowling unit. Someone like an Ashwin, he is new and he will feel the pressure. You can advise individuals, but when you have the ball, nothing can be done for you. Overall plenty of areas where we have to improve,” he added.