Cricket

IPL 2024: What Is KKR's Winning Mantra? 'Win Together, Lose Together,' Says Nitish Rana

Kolkata Knight Riders became the first team to seal the playoff berth with a facile 18-run win over Mumbai Indians in a 16-over rain-interrupted IPL match at Eden Gardens on Saturday

BCCI
Kolkata Knight Riders celebrate the win over Mumbai Indians in match 60 of IPL 2024 at the Eden Gardens. Photo: BCCI
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The key to Kolkata Knight Riders' success this season lies in their players' newfound ability to support each other through highs and lows, something that was "missing" over the past two years, feels the team's vice-captain Nitish Rana. (Full Coverage)

The two-time former champions became the first team to seal the playoff berth with a facile 18-run win over Mumbai Indians in a 16-over rain-interrupted IPL match at Eden Gardens on Saturday.

This was the first time since 2021 that KKR made the last four stages.

"We win together and we lose together; that's the dressing room environment we have. It's very important to place hands on each other's shoulders, and I feel it was missing for the last one to two years," Rana said in the post-match media interaction in Kolkata.

With this win, they have consolidated their position atop the standings with 18 points. With two games to go, KKR are now well-placed for a top-two finish.

The big reality check for KKR had come against Punjab Kings who smashed South Africa's record of the highest successful run-chase by gunning down 262 with eight balls to spare in an IPL fixture at Eden Gardens on April 26.

"We felt really bad that day. I was witness to the dressing room, only three-four ate dinner that night," he recalled.

Rana, who led the side the previous season in regular skipper Shreyas Iyer's absence, made a comeback from a finger injury after missing their last 10 matches.

Having scored a crucial 23-ball 33 on his return, the lefthander said he had anxiety pangs and had a sleepless night.

"To be honest I was not able to touch the bat for 20-22 days because of the injury. Then slowly it started falling into place. I used to play innings in my mind.

"I couldn't sleep the whole night yesterday. It seemed I'm playing the first IPL match of my life. I slept only around 7.30-8 am such was the anxiety.

"It seemed I was playing my first match, you have to increase your hunger to do well. Luckily I had that thing in me," he said.

Lacked momentum: Piyush Chawla

For Mumbai Indians, who are already out of the playoff race, this was their ninth loss as they end their forgettable season facing Lucknow Super Giants on May 17.

Veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla blamed it on their lack of momentum this season.

"T20 is about momentum, and we didn't get that momentum right from the beginning. Some days we bowled well, but our batting didn't click, and sometimes our batters did well, but the bowlers ended up leaking runs," Chawla said.

"As a unit, we have failed in a few games, and we have to accept that as a team. We have a brilliant lineup, but things didn't fall into place.

"Today also, we started off brilliantly, but that spell of (Sunil) Narine and Varun (Chakravarthy) actually made the difference. You have to give credit to their bowlers," he added.

The 35-year-old, who has played 191 matches in the IPL in four different franchises including KKR, feels it's not over for him yet.

To a query if he would be back in action next season, Chawla gave a cheeky reply.

"You tell me, if I should be playing with the way I'm bowling? If you have given your permission, of course I will see you somewhere next time," he signed off.

Chawla has been Mumbai's lead spinner, picking 10 wickets from as many matches this season.

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