Had the Kolkata Knight Riders not won the match against RCB on Thursday in as dominating a fashion as they did, they might as well have not turned up for their final game against Warriors on Saturday night at the same Chinnaswamy Stadium.
For, a simple win wouldn’t have helped in any way, they needed a big win to give them a chance to stay in the tournament and to their credit they came up with a performance that gave them a thumping victory.
“Absolutely, that was the plan,” KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir readily admitted when asked if his team was on a bigger mission that just a win.
“We knew we had to win big. And once we were at a stage where we could accelerate and set the run rate, we did that,” he said soon after the match on Friday, a night the left-hander found personal form too.
That the top three of Jacques Kallis, Brad Haddin and Gambhir himself finished off the game, will have undoubtedly boosted the team’s confidence for the game against the Warriors who for their part are on a roll, having won two of two thus far, including the opener against RCB in Bangalore.
Gambhir will not be as confident of his bowling though, and not just because a slow over-rate cost him $3000 as fine, while each team member coughed up half that. RCB should have never got to the total they did, especially as KKR had gone in with an extra bowler. Perhaps Gambhir can put some of them to better use.
He didn’t quite agree with the viewpoint. “This is what this format is all about,” he said while defending his choice of bowlers at the death, indicating that anyone can go for runs at that stage. “I still don’t think we bowled badly but the way Dan (Vettori) batted, credit goes to him,” insisted the KKR skipper.
On that night, KKR were also helped along by some shoddy fielding by the RCB side, but that’s not what they can expect from the Warriors on Saturday night, the match being the second one on a double header day.
The Johan Botha-led South African outfit, runners-up last year, will in all probability be more challenging than the Challengers and in all three departments to boot.