Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum rued the middle-order's collective failure in the final against Chennai Super Kings on Friday, in which they suffered a 27-run defeat. However, he was proud of his team producing a dramatic turnaround in the second phase of the tournament.
Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final of the IPL 2021 on Friday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Faf du Plessis’ sensational 59-ball 86 guided CSK to 192/3, after Eoin Morgan opted to bowl.
In pursuit of 193 runs, KKR openers Shubhman Gill (51) and Venkatesh Iyer (50) started off well, as they partnered for a 91-run stand before the latter fell to Shardul Thakur in the 11th over. KKR stumbled from 91/1 to 125/8 in a span of six overs. A brilliant bowling performance from the CSK restricted the two-time champions to 165/9 to clinch their fourth IPL title.
KKR head coach Brendon McCullum was pleased with his bowlers and the top-order batsmen, and admitted that the team needed more from its middle order.
"I think, our bowling group did a really good job, we fielded well and our top-order batting was superb, but unfortunately we weren't quite able to get the real impact through our middle-order players, " he stated in the post-match press conference
The 14th edition of the IPL turned out to be a disappointing one for Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik with the bat, as they aggregated 133 runs at 11.08 and 223 runs at 22.30 respectively. McCullum extended his support to the experienced campaigners, stating that even the best of players go through tough phases.
“There is a lot of experience there and they did not have the greatest of tournaments and that can happen at times," McCullum said.
KKR had endured a tough start to the season, and were placed seventh after the first half with just two wins from seven games. They won seven of their next nine during what was an impressive run to the final. McCullum couldn't be more proud of the turnaround.
"I am just really proud of all the guys for their efforts and what a story it was to go as close as we did after being under the pump halfway through the. More positives than negatives, that is for sure and we walk away with our head held high," he said.
Andre Russell, missed out for a major part in the UAE leg due to a hamstring injury. McCullum stated that Russell worked his best to make himself available for the final, but it was a huge risk to let him play when he wasn't 100 percent fit.
"Andre obviously had a hamstring tear early on in the competition. He worked unbelievably hard to try and get himself available. He was still at risk there. And it was a risk, I felt in a final, we just couldn't afford to take," he explained.
The former New Zealand captain was highly impressed with Venkatesh Iyer, who aggregated 370 at 41.11 in his debut IPL season.
“Look, Venkatesh Iyer has been quite an incredible story," said McCullum. "Looking back, he was actually going to play the last game, the next game when we were in India. In a funny way, the break came at a good time there. It gave him an opportunity to just get another couple of months of cricket under his belt, to understand that his opportunities weren't too far away."