After Kolkata Knight Riders thrilling 2-run win over Kings XI Punjab on Saturday (October 10), skipper Dinesh Karthik credited his side’s head coach Brendon McCullum for encouraging him to bat higher-up the order. KKR management’s decision to send Karthik up the order paid dividends as he scored a rapid-fire 58 ( off 29 balls; 4×8, 6×2) which set the tone for his side’s eventual victory.
Taking to broadcaster Star Sports post-match, Karthik said: “McCullum has been encouraging me to bat higher, though I always feel I bat better somewhere in the middle. We have had these conversations, but at the end, I give him the credit for keeping me in a place where I can contribute to the team`s success.”
Karthik was also awarded the man of the match for his knock.
KKR won the toss and skipper Dinesh Karthik opted to bat first. Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana were sent to the pavilion early with KXIP seamers bowling some tight lines. Shubman Gill (57 off 47 balls; 4×5) played a composed innings and engaged in a steady partnership with Eoin Morgan (24 off 23 balls; 4×2, 6×1) to rebuild the innings.
Morgan’s departure brought skipper Dinesh Karthik to the crease. Karthik, got into the act straightaway and timed the ball beautifully – All KXIP bowlers were taken to the cleaners as Karthik raced away to his fifty in just 22 balls. He engaged in a rapid 82-run stand with Shubman Gill, which set the tone for his side’s competitive total on a slow pitch in Abu Dhabi.
Karthik finished his innings at 58 (off 29 balls; 4×8, 6×2) and powered KKR to a competitive 164/6.
Chasing a below-par 164, Kings XI were cruising towards victory at 115/0 from 14.1 overs, but played into KKR’s hands and couldn’t get the job done. It was an absolute tank job from KXIP which handed the win to KKR. KXIP thus lost their fifth game on the trot and it would now take an absolute miracle for them to get a stake in the playoffs.
KKR will next lock horns with RCB on Monday, October 12.