In the first phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, no one would have imagined that the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team would be able to make it to the playoffs as well. In the first phase played in India in May, KKR lost five out of seven matches and the team was at number seven, but in the second phase being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), KKR made such a comeback that every Somebody was shocked. The Eoin Morgan-led team has booked the ticket for the final and will face Chennai Super Kings (CSK) with the intention of winning the third title today. After defeating Delhi Capitals in the second qualifier, team mentor David Hussey credited captain Morgan, opener Venkatesh Iyer and head coach Brendon McCullum for the change.
Hussey said after the match, ‘The interruption in the IPL definitely helped us. But Morgan’s captaincy has also been very good. He cleverly changed the bowling and that has been a big reason for our win. Venkatesh is a great player. He is tall and I think he is a clone of Steven Fleming, former New Zealand batsman and current coach of Chennai Super Kings. What McCullum has achieved is incredible. We were seventh but he changed everything. He has revived the team. A new energy has come in everything. Everyone is happy and there is smile on their faces. He is a humble person and will not take credit for it but this is the truth.
Of these three, Iyer’s contribution is easily factored into the figures and he was again the team’s hero on Wednesday. On a tough pitch, he scored 55 runs in just 41 balls and kept the team ahead in a tricky chase with a steady Shubman Gill. But Hussey said Gill infused confidence in the dugout by hitting a cover drive off the first ball. Hussey said, ‘Everyone knows that Gill will play 10 more years for India in all three formats. The question is just how long will he be able to cement his place. He gives confidence to the rest of the batsmen with his style. By sending the first ball to the cover boundary, he convinced everyone in both the dressing room and the dugout. He is a skilled and intelligent player. I will be very interested in how far he will go from here as a player and as a human being.