Unfazed by the loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Yusuf Pathan said his team did everything right till a Chris Gayle storm took the IPL match away from them.(Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)
The defending champions got regular breakthroughs and dismissed the dangerous duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers but the explosive West Indian opener stood tall with a 56-ball 96 to seal the chase with an over to spare.
“You have to give credit to the way Gayle batted. He won the match for RCB. It’s only our second game so there’s not much to worry. We have been doing well,” the KKR all-rounder told reporters at the post-match interaction.
“T20 games are like that, you have many big players but one player wins you the match. Like I said, the credit goes to Gayle. It’s not that we played poor cricket. He took the match from us. We can’t blame anybody. We played well in both matches.
“We played very good cricket. We had a very good start and (Andre) Russell did well at the end. Overall we batted well, and played good cricket,” he added of Gambhir’s second successive half-century (58 off 46) and Russell’s 17-ball 41.
In reply, the big-hitting Gayle was dropped twice off Pathan that virtually cost KKR a second successive win.
Refusing to blame anyone, Pathan backed his team and said everything would fall in place as the tournament goes on.
“Like they say, catches win you matches. But nobody does it intentionally. But it’s good that we’re making mistakes at the beginning, so we have time to get our act right before the crucial matches,” Pathan, who took 2/40, said.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir opened with Morkel and Sunil Narine against the the duo of Gayle and Kohli and the plan succeeded partly with the South African speedster removing the Indian star batsman for 13.
“The strategy was to get our best bowlers up front and get them out. We succeeded in one and it’s part of the game.”
On the surprise inclusion of uncapped KC Cariappa, who conceded 28 runs for his two overs and took the prized scalp of de Villiers, Pathan said everybody would have hailed the move if it had clicked.
“We always plan to win. Team management thought it would work. It did not click but everybody would have said it is a very good decision had it clicked.”
Pathan also backed the under fire Sunil Narine who is yet to take wickets from two matches after returning to the fold with a corrected action.
“It’s just the start. He will get wickets for the team during crucial matches. He has played really well for the team. I don’t think it’s anything to do his bowling action. It’s just a matter of time and he’s got the whole tournament ahead of him.”
Meanwhile, the winning team’s young leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal said Gayle’s marauding knock had such a calming effect on the dressing room that not a single player felt nervous during the tense chase.
The likes of Virat Kohli (13) and AB de Villiers (28) got out cheaply and RCB were 133/6 in 16.1 overs when Gayle storm struck.
“We did not feel much pressure in the dugout. We knew anything can happen till Gayle was there in the middle. Everybody was relaxed,” the 24-year-old said.
Chahal thanked Kohli for backing him despite being the only spinner in the line-up on an Eden surface which usually helps slow bowlers.
“I did not have any pressure, Virat bhai trusted me and gave me the ball when Gautibhai (Gambhir) was batting. It was a bit on the slower than how it played against Mumbai Indians (in the opening match).
“Batsmen relished the conditions, and the spinners did not get much turn. Maybe outside the wicket there was a bit of turn.”