Eoin Morgan was pleased with Kolkata Knight Riders' overall effort against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, whom they defeated by six wickets in Dubai on Sunday. The Knight Riders are well placed at the fourth position on the points table, and need to win their last game to secure a play-off berth.
Tim Southee set the tone with the ball for KKR, dismissing Wriddhiman Saha for a first-ball duck after Kane Williamson opted to bat. Shivam Mavi had Jason Roy caught at mid-on for 10, and following Williamson’s run out for 26, the spinners tightened the screws as SRH finished at 115/8 in 20 overs.
The run-chase wasn’t as easy though, with Jason Holder and Rashid Khan dismissing Venkatesh Iyer (8) and Rahul Tripathi (7) within the first seven overs. Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana (25 off 33) found run-scoring tough, but the former showed great application during his 51-ball 57, before Dinesh Karthik (18* off 12) applied finishing touches to seal the game in the final over.
Skipper Eoin Morgan highlighted adaptability as a key factor in his side’s sixth win of the competition.
"Yes, the chase was tricky. I thought it was sluggish if anything,” said Morgan after the game. “The wicket is one thing but you need to adapt to conditions - bowl well, field well. We did that well, vast improvement from two days ago.
“Gill was very good. Shakib is a massive addition. To have the strength and depth to call upon an experienced campaigner like him is a luxury. He's had a huge impact today.
“As a group, nearly two years ago, we thought we'd play in India. And since then we've just been countering that. Having missed out on the playoffs last year, we knew our squad is reasonable. We are focused on playing good cricket. We've played really really good cricket - attitude, implementation of game plan."
Gill, who struck 10 fours during his well-crafted half-century, his first of the season, reflected on a match-winning knock.
"It was important to keep wickets in hand early. And then to go for it when the runs got closer,” said Gill as he received the Player of the Match award.
“You see the wicket and then you choose your match up. To hit spinners on this surface isn't easy. I was targeting the shorter side mostly. I didn't have many runs under my belt. And if you play one bad shot in a low-scoring game the opposition can come back. So the batsman needs to try and take the game home.
“When you play in North India, wickets are not as bouncy. You play with the wrists a lot. So I use them a lot. Umran Malik was definitely quick."
KKR are well placed at the fourth position in the points table, and will play Rajasthan Royals in their last league fixture in Sharjah on Thursday, October 7. Given their relatively higher run rate, a win would secure them a spot in the play-offs.