Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Shreyas Iyer is happy that his team was finally able to bring out its ‘A’ game at the fag end of the IPL league phase, against Sunrisers Hyderabad, even though the side is virtually out of playoff contention in IPL 2022.
With only one league game remaining for them this season, the two-time champions are sixth on the points table with 12 points, and even if they win against Lucknow Super Giants on May 18, their chances this season are as good as over, barring, of course, a miracle.
However, on Saturday night at the MCA stadium here, KKR dished out a superb performance with Andre Russell smashing an unbeaten 28-ball 49 to guide them to a fighting total and then the West Indian returned figures of 3/22 in his four overs to restrict SRH to 123/8.
On the 54-run win, skipper Iyer said, “Our mindset we came with in this game was outstanding, we were positive and it was really important to win this toss. Batting first in Pune, teams have won a lot of matches. We were going over by over while batting, plan was to give Russell as much strike as possible and we were praying that he plays the last over because Washington (Sundar) had an over left.
“It worked out pretty well. 177 against them (SRH) was over par, the way Sunny (Narine) and Varun stepped up on a slow wicket, they were pretty smart and we never let them (Sunrisers) get under our skin.
“We don’t have anything to lose right now; we haven’t played our ‘A’ game so far in the league. We really stepped up pretty well. And also I want to clarify from the last interview, when I took the CEO’s name (for team selections), I meant he’s there to console the players who are sitting out, it’s never easy for them,” clarified Iyer.
Russell conceded batting first wasn’t easy and that anything in the range of 165-170 could be counted as a good score on the MCA Stadium pitch.
“When I went out there, batting wasn’t easy. 165-170 was very good and we got eight runs (per) over. We have a good bowling attack and two good spinners. My mindset is very clear when I go out to bat, not thinking about situations. My job is to go after it from ball one; sometimes I hit the first ball in the nets for a six. When I saw 20 off 17 on the scoreboard, I thought, ‘that’s not me,’ but you have to fight it out sometimes. Before the last ball of the 19th over I said: ‘Sunil, just try to get a boundary, let me take strike in the last over,’ because of an off-spinner bowling the last over. I got three full tosses and I did put them away. Always look to chip in with the ball and do something special in the field,” added Russell.