KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik heaped praise on young Karnataka pacer Prasidh Krishna, who kept his nerve at the death and claimed the prize scalp of KL Rahul to help KKR beat KXIP by 2 runs. Karthik, who was named Man of the Match, also expressed that he was lucky to have Morgan by his side.
After snatching victory from the jaws of defeat versus Chennai Super Kings earlier this week, Kolkata Knight Riders, today, looked like they ran out of luck and were headed for a thrashing at the hands of a resilient Punjab. Chasing a modest 165, the Punjab openers put up a mammoth 115-run opening stand and that coupled with a mini-Pooran onslaught made it look like the 8th-placed team was going to win the game with overs to spare.
However, in what was arguably the biggest and the most unexpected comeback of the season, the KKR bowlers remarkably pulled things back and choked Kings XI towards the back end. With KXIP needing 22 off 18 balls, the KKR bowlers conceded just 19 off the last three overs to seal the side a two-run victory. One of the architects of the comeback was 24-year-old Prasidh Krishna, who bowled the all-important 19th over and also picked up the wicket of danger-man KL Rahul. Prasidh, who was playing his first game of the season, finished with figures of 3/29.
Speaking post-match, KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik heaped praise on Prasidh and branded the right-arm-quick ‘special’.
"The way Rahul and Mayank batted, we thought we needed to do something really special to come back into the game. With Sunny and Varun there, and Prasidh bowling the way he has done in his first game. Whenever Russell gets injured, you know it is hard. He is a very special player, he is a very special person. We need to go and look at him. Prasidh is special. The way he came back and bowled in the second spell shows how good he is,” Karthik said in the post-match presentation.
Narine did not get a chance to bat, but he made his presence known with the ball, bowling the final over to help KKR pull off yet another heist. Karthik lavished praise on the ever-so-calm Narine, who ended with figures of 2/28, and further revealed that he was also grateful for the presence of Eoin Morgan, who the Indian described as the ‘best captain in the world in terms of results’.
“Sunil Narine stands up for us a lot of time. He is calm. He is always looking to find the best way to contribute to the team. Not only Sunil, a lot of credit needs to be given to Morgan and McCullum. I am very lucky to have the world's best captain by results in my side."
After a lean run in the front-end of the tournament, Karthik turned things around with the bat today, scoring a match-winning 29-ball 58. The 35-year-old, who batted No.5 today, was named Man of the Match for his efforts, and he thanked coach Brendon McCullum for the trust and support.
“McCullum has been encouraging me to bat higher in the order, but I am looking at what the team needs. I have to give him credit for keeping me in this space.”
The win means that KKR now have 4 wins from 6 matches, and are sitting comfortably at 3rd spot in the points table.