Abu Dhabi [UAE], October 10 (ANI): After defeating Kings XI Punjab by two-run in a thrilling encounter, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik credited team's head coach Brendon McCullum for encouraging him to bat up in the order.
Karthik came in to bat at number five and played a knock of 58 runs from 29 balls. Shubman Gill (57) and Karthik's fifties guided them to 164/6 in their allotted 20 overs. Karthik was adjourned Player of the Match.
"McCullum has been encouraging me to bat higher, though I always feel I bat better somewhere in the middle. We have had these conversations, but at the end, I give him the credit for keeping me in a place where I can contribute to the team's success," Karthik told the host broadcaster Star Sports after the match.
KKR all-rounder Andre Russell hurt himself while attempting to save a boundary at mid-off and went off the field after crashing into the advertisement board.
Karthik said that the Windies flamboyant player is a key member of their side and they will 'look up at him'. The skipper further praised Prasidh Krishna who returned with the figures of 4-29 in his fours overs.
"Whenever Russell gets injured, my heart is always in my mouth because he is a very key player for us. We need to look up at him and make sure he's okay. Krishna is special, and is close to a spot for the India white-ball team. He has to make some adjustments but the way he bowled in the second spell shows why he is one of the better bowlers in India," Karthik said.
KXIP collapsed from 149/2 to 158/5 in the last two overs as KKR bowlers made a comeback to clinch the final ball thriller.
KXIP needed 14 runs off the final over but Sunil Narine exceptional bowling performance denied Punjab a much-needed win. In the final ball, Glenn Maxwell smashed a four that almost looked a six as KXIP lost the match by 2 runs.
"I think Narine stands up for us all the time, he's always looking out for the team. A lot of credit goes to Morgan for having the world's best captain around. He keeps things very positive. As for the Maxwell shot, I was hoping it would land just short, and that's exactly what ended up happening. Not easy to hit a shot over cover under pressure. But credit to the bowlers for finishing it really well with the ball.
Chasing 165 runs, KXIP got off to a solid start and smashed 47 runs without losing a wicket in the powerplay. Also, Andre Russell dropped a skier from Rahul giving the KXIP skipper a second chance.The duo completed the 100-run mark in the 13th over with both Mayank and Rahul smashing their respective half-century as KXIP looked solid in the chase.
KKR got their first breakthrough when Prasidh Krishna dismissed Mayank in the 15th over. With 50 runs still needed, Nicholas Pooran came out to bat and started off from where he had left the other night.
KXIP rushed to 136/1 in 16 overs as the Rahul led-side looked comfortable in the chase. However, in a knick of time, Sunil Narine dismissed Pooran when KXIP needed 21 runs from 16 balls.
In the end, KXIP fell three runs short of the target courtesy of some fine bowling by Narine and Prasidh Krishna.
KKR will next take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in their next game at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday, October 12. (ANI)