“Look them in the eye and say, ‘we will take you on’, said Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum to his boys in the dressing room after the two-time IPL champions outplayed Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by nine wickets in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Playing their first IPL 2021 match after a four-month break due to COVID, KKR bowlers removed Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell to break the backbone of the RCB batting line-up. RCB were eventually bundled out for 92 in 19 overs. KKR overhauled the target with 10 overs to spare.
A former Knight Rider, McCullum stressed on the fact that KKR need to have the mental strength to take the big guns down. “Every team has big players in it, right? If we get the mentality that we are going to take them down, look what can happen,” the former Kiwi captain said.
“AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and today we dominated them. In the next game, we are going to be confronted by some big players as well and that’s what I am talking about,” McCullum added. Meanwhile, all-rounder Andre Russell also joked with Player of the Match Varun Chakravarthy for taking a bagful of awards and also termed their remaining games as finals.
“You stole the show bro (Chakravarthy). You leave nothing for anyone else. I like it, clean sweep. It is the type of start of we want and the finishing that we want. Everything was top class today, perfect. Bowling, fielding, can’t complain,” Russell said.
“One out of way, six more to go. Six more finals,” added the Caribbean star. Debutant Venkatesh Iyer, whose unbeaten 41 helped KKR to win big, credited opening partner Shubman Gill (48) for the support in the middle.
Say hi to our GAME CHðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ°NGERS from last night ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ#KKRvRCB #KKR #AmiKKR #KorboLorboJeetbo #à¦ÂÂÂÂà¦®à¦¿KKR #IPL2021 #VenkateshIyer https://t.co/au5G0dFrY1 pic.twitter.com/csvyU9ydIr— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) September 21, 2021
“The team has won, that’s the only result I wanted. Happy to contribute, this is the momentum we needed. Hopefully we will kill it. Credit to Shubman, the way he batted gave me a lot of confidence. I think it was an exceptional, exemplary innings (Shubman’s) to be very honest. I really enjoyed batting with him out there,” said the left-hander.
Gill also echoed similar sentiments for Iyer. “He has been batting really well in the practice matches and in the nets. So it was really important for him to not get ahead of himself and that’s what he did.
"The team was extremely determined to make a comeback after where we were on the table and the way we bowled, we batted, really showed how much we are in the game and how much we want to win this tournament,” said Gill, who missed a fifty by two runs.