Sharjah: Kolkata Knight Riders’ skipper Eoin Morgan has credited the backroom staff for creating an atmosphere that allows youngsters to express themselves and for giving inputs that have helped the team make a grand comeback in IPL 2021 and reach the final against Chennai Super Kings.
Despite starting their IPL 2021 campaign with a win, Kolkata were struggling at the end of the Indian leg with five defeats and two wins and were placed at the 7th spot. They made a remarkable turnaround in UAE, winning five matches and losing only two, which helped them make the playoffs on the basis of a superior Net Run Rate after a tie on points with Mumbai Indians. One of the key factors that made the turnaround possible was the good starts they got from openers, Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer.
On Wednesday, after young openers Gill and Iyer gave the team another terrific start, KKR lost six wickets for seven runs at one stage but prevailed over Delhi Capitals by three wickets and one ball to spare to book their spot in the final on Friday against Chennai Super Kings. Rahul Tripathi, another youngster helped them get past the line despite the hiccups.
“It’s a nice insight into our team culture – the young guys coming in feel free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this. With the squad we have, there’s expectation. Hopefully, we can implement all that we’ve strategised,” said Morgan after the match on Wednesday night.
He said it was the team management especially coach Brendon McCullum’s idea to elevate Iyer to opener’s role in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and the Madhya Pradesh allrounder has impressed everyone with a flurry of half-centuries that has got the Indian team management to pick him to be part of its nets during the T20 World Cup.
“Venky Iyer idea [his elevation] came from the coach, my God, he’s a terrific player. Made the chase easy, looks like he was batting on a different wicket,” Morgan said of Iyer who scored a brilliant half-century in KKR’s chase of 136.
However, Morgan felt that his team should have won the game in a more convincing manner, going by the start provided by his openers. He also said that the team will dissect the meltdown with the bat in the last four overs.
“Should’ve been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky (Iyer) and Gill set us the platform. Dew came in and all, but we’re in the final and we’re delighted to get over the line,” said Morgan in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Would’ve loved to win convincingly but Capitals are a very good side. Six off two, the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us. It’s a nice insight into our team culture – the young guys coming in feel free to express themselves,” added Morgan.
Kolkata will now travel to Dubai International Stadium on Friday to meet Chennai Super Kings in the final on Friday. It will be the first time since 2012 that the two teams will play against each other in the final.