Kolkata, May 12 (IANS) After losing to Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets at Eden Gardens, Kolkata Knight Riders left-handed batter Venkatesh Iyer said he would take responsibility for his side’s slowdown in the middle overs.
On a two-paced pitch, Venkatesh struggled to get going and was at 11 off 20 balls at one point. Though he found his groove by smashing boundaries against Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal to top-score with 57 off 42 balls, it couldn’t prevent Kolkata from the thumping defeat leaving their Play-offs hopes in trouble.
“I would take responsibility for playing a lot of dot balls. I should have rotated more, and I think that little phase was owned by Rajasthan, but we made a good comeback in the game. However, at the end of the day, it did not matter,” he said in the post-match press conference.
Venkatesh also pointed out that Rajasthan’s electrifying fielding also played a part in Kolkata’s batting slowdown. “The way they fielded, they easily saved around 20-odd runs on the field, which in a T20 (match) is unbelievable. With two wickets and two new batters on the crease, the wicket was not very easy to bat. So that is when we slowed down just a little bit.”
Rajasthan effectively snatched the game away from Kolkata when captain Nitish Rana brought himself on to bowl the first over against Yashasvi Jaiswal. But that backfired spectacularly as Jaiswal carted him for two sixes and three fours to take 26 runs off the opening over, setting the base for him blazing to a 13-ball fifty, the quickest half-century ever hit in IPL.
In the defence of the move, Venkatesh said, “The wicket was holding just a little bit on the slower side we wanted to exploit the spin with the newer ball. If the new ball starts turning, then it will be very difficult for the batter. It didn’t, and we are talking post-game it did not work out.”
“Nitish is an unbelievable bowler. We all know what Nitish is capable of with the ball, and he has picked up crucial wickets in his career. With a left-hander in the middle, an off-spinner is never a wrong option. Unfortunately, it did not go in our favour, and had he picked up the wicket, it would have been a masterstroke.”
Kolkata’s next match in IPL 2023 will be against Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday evening.