Saturday, March 2, 2024

‘Only KKR belongs to Kolkata’


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KOLKATA: Jubilant after leading his side to a facile triumph over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir is now plotting revenge over Pune Warriors — the side led by one of Kolkata’s favourite sons Sourav Ganguly.

Having guided the side to a 47-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in front of a packed Eden on Saturday, Gambhir hoped that the spectators would root for KKR in their match against Pune on May 5 despite Ganguly leading the opponents camp.

“The way we have played, I think Kolkata will get a lot of support from the people. It’s Kolkata’s team… No other team belongs to Kolkata,” Gambhir, who smashed a 51-ball 93 for his second Man-of-the-Match this season, said after their win on Saturday.

“For me, it’s KKR vs Pune Warriors. Whether the crowd supports us or not, KKR is a team of Kolkata. We play to bring smiles on the people of Kolkata. It’s not about playing against individuals.” Defending 191, part-time off-spinner Yusuf Pathan bowled conceded 1/19 in his four overs, something that turned the match in favour of KKR, Gambhir said.

“He did a great job with the ball. He did a great job when he was bowling against Chris Gayle. His four overs for 19 turned the match around,” he said.

Backing the off-colour all-rounder who is yet to hit form with the bat, Gambhir said Yusuf’s confidence would get a boost from the bowling performance.

“He (Yusuf) is one of the biggest match winners India has ever seen. I’ve lot of confidence in him that he is going to win two-three games for us. It’s just a matter of time that he would do something magical for us.”

Gambhir said he did not regret missing out on a century by seven runs. “I was hitting the ball well so it was important for me to stay till the end. But I don’t want to take credit away from (Brendon) McCullum and the way Jacques (Kallis) played in.”

“A lot of credit goes to both of them as well. Fortunately every thing was just going on my way,” Gambhir said of his knock during which he was dropped thrice.

“I don’t think about centuries. There is no one in the dressing room who thinks about individual records. We play as a unit. Century or no centuries, it’s about winning games. For me, it was all about winning.”

With a tall total to defend even the towering presence of Caribbean destroyer Chris Gayle in the opponents camp did not matter, Gambhir said. “We always knew we had the bowling. Someone like Sunil Narine who bowled four overs for nothing,” he said of the Windies mystery spinner who conceded just 11 runs taking one wicket.

But Gambhir felt KKR should have bowled out Bangalore who were restricted for 143 for six.

“To be honest, with the attack we have, we should have bowled the opposition out. That is one thing maybe we want to rectify. That could have been more convincing. I am not someone who keeps sitting on the laurels. KKR are sitting pretty on second spot of the table with 11 points from nine matches. (PTI)


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