Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
It is the start of something for KKR: Morgan
AHMEDABAD: Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan is hoping that their clinical victory against Punjab Kings would provide them the much needed momentum in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
They are a strong unit on paper but KKR lost four matches on the trot after securing a win against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The bowlers helped them break the losing string by restricting Punjab to 123/9 as the side eventually claimed a fivewicket win on Monday. “Now with this win, hopefully, it’s the start of something,” Morgan said during a virtual media conference. “Up until now, the team has gone through really tough times. We have had a really slow start to the tournament, and we haven’t had that little bit of luck that you need.”
Morgan was lavish in his praise for the bowling unit as Prasidh Krishna (3/30), Pat Cummins (2/31) and Sunil Narine (2/22) choked Punjab after the young Shivam Mavi (1/13) impressed with the new ball, bowling 15 dots. “The performance tonight epitomised how the group wants to play. With the ball, especially, we displayed how we want to go about our business. That is a really encouraging thing.”
Their top-order batting, however, remains a worry as they were 17/3 inside three overs before Morgan and Rahul Tripathi
(41 off 32) scripted the revival.
Talented opener Shubman Gill (9) continued his woeful run and was trapped by Mohammed Shami as Morgan stressed on the need to build on the performance. “We can’t change anything that has already happened. Building on tonight’s performance will be important for us. One thing that we did really well today was combine our bowling, fielding and batting to have a comprehensive win. Until now, probably from the first match, we haven’t managed to do that.”
Morgan further praised the team management for giving them their full support after their string of four losses. “We are extremely proud of the franchise. It is one of the reasons why we have been so successful over the course of IPL. Having that backing certainly helps. It is nice to be able to reward them,” he said.
Punjab pace all-rounder Chris Jordan, who produced a 30-run cameo to boost their total, rued lack of runs as they suffered their fourth loss from six matches.
“We did well enough to put a little bit of pressure back on KKR. We tried to take the game as close as possible. But we didn’t have enough runs and that’s possibly what cost us the game in the end,” Jordan said.
Punjab who will play three more matches here, next take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday and Jordan said the dew would be a factor. “Obviously it’s a little bit challenging (bowling with dew) but it’s nothing that we weren’t expecting. We’ve been doing a lot of work (bowling with the wet ball) in training. We have to try and figure out what’s the best plan to use when bowling with the wet ball. Obviously playing in India is always a challenge, some wickets can be slow, some wickets can be quite quick as well. It’s all part of the challenge of being a professional cricketer and also you must have experience so you can try and adapt (to) the conditions as best as possible.”
The loss however has not dampened the mood of the KL Rahul-led side. “We will look to come up with the answers. The mood in the camp at the moment is upbeat. We will take one game at a time,” he signed off.
Morgan is pained to see the surge of Covid-19 cases in India but indicated IPL could still go on as Bundesliga and Premier League have set the perfect “templates” for sports to continue amid lockdown.
Returning to India in less than six months after the 2020 edition was staged in UAE amid the pandemic, IPL found itself in the grip of a second wave of Covid-19 with few Australian players and India’s R Ashwin exiting the event.
“Certainly in the UK last year we went through severe lockdown for a prolonged periods of time and it looked for a long time cricket wasn’t going to be played,” Morgan said. “When we first came out of the lockdown, I remember the first sport being on TV was probably in New Zealand and in Australia. It was the Rugby Union’s league and then slowly, the Bundesliga started and the Premier League started.”