Turning point was Yusuf's 72, says Gambhir

Turning point was Yusuf's 72, says Gambhir

Not since Chennai Super Kings’ remarkable run to the title in 2010 when they stitched together five wins – all must wins leading to the end of the league phase – in a row, had a team managed a revival of such proportions.

Down and seemingly out of contention after losing five of their first seven games, Kolkata Knight Riders won nine on the trot to lift the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League here on Sunday, dashing Kings XI Punjab’s hopes of a maiden title in their first shot at glory.

Skipper Gautam Gambhir once again credited the team effort for their second IPL triumph but stressed on two innings that made difference to their campaign – Yusuf Pathan’s 22-ball 72 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last league game that catapulted them to the second spot, giving them two chances to make the final, and Manish Pandey’s 50-ball 94 in Sunday’s final.

“The turning point in this tournament would be Yusuf’s knock, 72 off 22 balls,” pointed out Gambhir after the final. “It took us to the second position and gave us two cracks at the cup. Also Manish’s batting, under pressure, in a final,” he said.

Stressing that they had focussed on having a good bowling attack at the auction, Gambhir said their batting was equally well-equipped. “When we went into the auction, we wanted a good bowling attack.

A lot of teams might have thought of having a very good batting line-up in the T20 format, but you can go the other way as well. A strong bowling attack takes a lot of pressure off the batting as well.

But we’ve batted brilliantly as well. A lot of people were talking about it as being our bowling against Kings (XI Punjab) batting, but we’ve chased 200 now and also made 160 in 14-odd overs (to finish the league phase in second place),” he elaborated.

While admitting that it was disappointing to see his bowlers concede 140 runs in the last 10 overs, Gambhir said he was confident of the chasing the target. “Giving 140-odd in 10 overs with the bowling attack we have, it was disappointing.

But we always had the belief going into the dressing room that 200 on this ground, and on that kind of pitch, would not be impossible. If we could get the target down to 50 or 60 needed from five overs with wickets in hand, we would definitely chase it down,” he noted.

When asked to compare the two IPL wins by KKR, Gambhir had this to offer: “It’s difficult to compare two wins, but I feel especially after the first seven games a lot of people may not have given us a chance of playing the finals.

Nine (wins) in a row says a lot about the character of the team and the individuals. Halfway through the tournament, we were sixth or seventh. So this is something very special, which will stay close to my heart.”

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