The two-run loss against Lucknow Super Giants knocked Kolkata Knight Riders out of the IPL but that did not stop losing captain Shreyas Iyer to describe it as “one of the best games” that he has ever been part of.
After being down and out chasing 211, KKR brought the equation down to five off three balls with the help of Rinku Singh. However, LSG somehow managed to eke out a thrilling last ball win to qualify for play-offs and dash KKR hopes at the same time.
“I am not feeling sad at all. That was one of the best games of cricket I have played. The way we should our character and attitude was simply outstanding,” said Iyer after KKR’s exit.
“I love the way Rinku got us till the end but unfortunately couldn’t time it when two balls were remaining, he was really sad. I was hoping he could finish the game for us and could have been the hero, but still played a fantastic knock and I am really happy for him.”
KKR knocked out of IPL 2022
KKR had to win to stay alive in the tournament. “It was a do or die situation for us, even after losing two wickets in the powerplay our mindset was to go for the chase and take it close as possible and put them under pressure.”
On the season, he added: “It was a volatile season for us, we started great but lost five games in a row and I personally feel we did a lot of chopping and changing, we had to do that because of the niggles and form, but we also got to know the players such as Rinku.
“The vibe has always been positive in the dressing room and we never hit the panic button. I have built a really good relationship with Baz (McCullum) and he is someone who is calm and composed even when the situation is going out of the way, you can go and talk to him at any point of the game.
“He’s got that aura when he walks around the players and never judges the players, all of us are equal for him,” he said.
Relief for K. L. Rahul
Winning captain K L Rahul was relieved to finish on the right side of the result.
“I should probably get paid more for games like these. Could easily have been on the losing side and have gone back home thinking we lost due to some poor cricket. Good way to finish the last game of the league season. Credit to both teams to make such a brilliant game of cricket.
“Can’t say we held our nerves better because it was a matter of three runs. For Stoinis to execute those plans in the last two balls to get us the win, was brilliant,” said Rahul.
De Kock on fire
Talking about Quinton de Kock, who struck a superb unbeaten 140 to set up the win for LSG, Rahul said: “I was a spectator today in the last few overs. He (De Kock) was striking the ball so crisply and cleanly.
“What we lacked in some of the games were that the guys who were having good days weren’t winning us games. Guys getting 30s and 40s had to get us 80s and 90s, and that’s exactly what he did.”
He was also all praise for left-arm pacer Mohsin Khan, who returned with three wickets.
“Mohsin has been outstanding for us in the last few games. He’s got the skills but the key thing has been his knowledge of when to use those skills.
“He’ll be donning the Blue jersey soon the way he is going. India is always looking for left-arm pacers and he is right there,” said Rahul.
De Kock’s frustration
A bit of frustration came out in Quinton de Kock’s uncharacteristic celebration after his blazing hundred.
At the post-match press conference, Lucknow Super Giants assistant coach Vijay Dahiya cited the possible reason behind the charged-up celebration by the South African opener.
“I will speak about Quinton. Sometimes he got runs, sometimes he didn’t (in ongoing IPL). When we practiced, or when he was knocking or taking throw-downs, he was always saying he never felt so good and how come it happened that he wasn’t able to score,” Dahiya said.
“He also said the day he got going, he would make it count and he did that today (last night). And the way they batted for 20 overs, without any wicket falling, just fantastic,” added Dahiya.
LSG’s record unbeaten partnership
Thanks to De Kock’s spectacular unbeaten 140, the highest individual score this season, and skipper K. L. Rahul’s 68 not out, Lucknow posted an imposing 210 for no loss and then defended it by two runs to book a berth in the play-offs.
Dahiya also praised Rahul, saying the skipper has always taken responsibility.
“If a captain says something and then does it, it sets a good standard for the team. The way KL has batted through the season, fabulous. He has always been in good rhythm, has taken responsibility and played for the team,” he added.
Praise for KKR’s batters
Vijay Dahiya credited the KKR batters for taking the game till the end and called it the best match of the season.
“We should praise KKR too for the way they batted till the last ball and I feel it is the tournament’s best match,” he said.
“Let us give credit where it is due. KKR batsmen were putting pressure on the bowlers and we will go back and see what can be done (rectified) because there is a possibility that we will be in the same situation again and try and correct things which are in our control.
“We have a very strong bowling unit and hopefully we will come back stronger,” he added.
Lewis’s catch turning point
In a match in which the pendulum swung from one side to another, LSG scripted victory on the last ball, and Dahiya felt that the catch taken by Evis Lewis to dismiss Rinku Singh on the penultimate ball was the turning point.
“When you speak at the end, it was (Evan) Lewis’ catch. When you need 21 runs off the last over and you score 16 in the first three balls, it seems things are (going) with the batting unit.
“Rinku (Singh) showed his ability and Sunil Narine has played such knocks, so considering everything, it was Lewis catch, which brought us into the game and the (Marcus) Stoinis yorker on the last ball,” said Dahiya.
He also lavished praise on pacer Mohsin Khan, saying the youngster has delivered in most of the games.
“Mohsin Khan has been phenomenal. According to me he has bowled best two overs for almost every game barring one game. (During) pressure time a youngster playing his first IPL coming back and delivering, speaks not only about his skills but speaks about his mental side,” Dahiya signed off.