Gautam Gambhir has said it was Kolkata Knight Riders' bowling that set up their seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the rain-hit Eliminator in Bengaluru last night. The KKR skipper was, however, critical of their batting, saying it should have been "more sensible" in the chase.
With the threat of rain looming large, KKR produced one of the best bowling displays of IPL-10 when they restricted the defending champions to a modest 128/7 in the allotted 20 overs, with both pacers and spinners playing their part. In the last over of the SRH innings, the sky opened up. and the game had to be delayed for almost three hours.
When play resumed after almost three hours, KKR's target was revised to 48 off six overs. The two-time champions secured the win with seven wickets in hand and four balls to spare.
"A lot of credit to the bowlers. They set the game up for us," Gambhir told a post-match press conference. "The bowlers restricting the Sunrisers batting to 128 was brilliant. There have been times when we've lacked intensity. And every run we stop on the field is one less to score and all 11 players were up for that," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
While the target appeared to be an easy one, Sunrisers made a game out of it by dismissing Chris Lynn and Yusuf Pathan in the first over and Robin Uthappa soon after. But Gambhir played his role to perfection, scoring an unbeaten 19-ball 32 to lead his team to the effective semi-final against Mumbai Indians. The KKR captain, however, said that he was disappointed with the batsman for letting Hyderabad back into the game while chasing the modest target.
"We should have been more sensible with the batting, though," Gambhir said. "It was a much better wicket than we played RCB on. It was coming onto the bat nicely in our innings. I think if you target 160 you will get a good score. You can't just go on looking for 200 every game."
The result effectively means that no team has successfully defended the title in the first 10 seasons of the IPL.
"We were 30 runs short. It was quite a tough wicket to bat on. The ball was holding up a bit. It's been quite a disappointing wicket all season. And they bowled really well on it," Sunrisers skipper David Warner said.
"The way we batted wasn't good enough and six-over games can be niggly. We had to come out with positive intent, got three wickets, but we knew they would come hard and it happened. We were good, as we were last time."