The Kolkata Knight Riders kept their playoff hopes alive after getting a 34-run victory over Mumbai Indians on Sunday. The Dinesh Karthik-led KKR starring Andre Russell won their first match after losing six consecutive matches in IPL 2019.
KKR got off with a good start after losing the toss and put to bat first by MI. Shubman Gill and Chris Lynn scored 96 runs for the first wicket. Then it was Andre Russell who shifted the gear and scored 80 runs with a strike rate of 200 taking the team’s total to a gigantic score of 232. In response, MI came very close to chase a record total with the help of Hardik Pandya’s 91 runs knock in just 34 deliveries. But it was the home team who was on the winning side after losing 8 consecutive matches against MI.
After losing 6 games in a row, Andre Russell took a dig on his team before the media. The Caribbean said, “The team atmosphere is not good currently after a six-match winless streak.” He also questioned the team management and decision makers for not promoting him in the batting order. “The team needs flexibility when it comes to batting positions in crunch matches,” said Andre Russell.
Andre Russell comments could affect the team and the captain. But the KKR skipper, Dinesh Karthik got some support from the former captain of KKR, Gautam Gambhir.
“Dinesh Karthik needs support from the senior members of the team. Sometimes, as a leader, you want someone to put his arm around you and say, “Things will happen, skipper”. I hope someone is doing this in the KKR dressing room,” said Gambir.
Dinesh Karthik also commented on the situation following their victory over MI. He said, “It’s a high-pressure sport, a high octane tournament and you’ve got to make sure everybody’s in a great space, give them the best chance to do well and stay healthy. A lot of bickering and back-biting can go on in these sorts of situations. I’m very aware of it and make sure nothing like that happens.”
KKR still has a chance to qualify for the playoffs with two games left. They have to win their remaining two matches to stay alive in the IPL 2019. In order to win matches, the team management has to keep the team atmosphere healthy and positive. Karthik has to ensure that all the players are happy, especially their key players like Andre Russell.
“At the end of the day, it’s a game. You play the best that you can. You need to keep a smile. You need to be nice to others. Everybody’s trying hard. I always believe that at the end of the day it’s a game. We all go back home and we need to be happy,” added Karthik.
Andre Russell was certainly unhappy with the tactical blunders and decisions made by the skipper. But Dinesh Karthik wants to ensure that all the players enjoy and have memorable memories with him. He wants to end the season in good terms with his team including Andre Russell.
He said, “I think they need to make sure they have a great experience playing with me. It shouldn’t be all about, ‘oh that guy was so bad when we lost’. I was very aware of that.”