One of the talking points of Kolkata Knight Riders' two-run loss to Chennai Super Kings in the opening fixture of IPL-IV on Friday was the visiting captain's decision to hold himself back during the Kolkata team's chase.
Gautam Gambhir, used to opening the innings or coming in after the fall of the first wicket in both Tests and One-Day Internationals, walked out at No. 6 during KKR's unsuccessful chase of 154. Gambhir took guard with Knight Riders needing 35 runs off 21 balls and the match still in the balance, before running himself out going for a suicidal second off an M.S. Dhoni misfield two balls later.
“It's just a strategy with Jacques Kallis and me, the two of us keep batting steadily while the rest keep coming hard from the other end. If Jacques gets out early, I can go out and anchor the innings. We tried it, it didn't work,” said Gambhir after the match.
He also said the presence of two off-spinners in Chennai's ranks — R. Ashwin and S. Randiv — was another reason he felt the right-handers would have a better shot at keeping the scoreboard moving.
Gambhir said the decision to field just two foreign players in Kolkata's line-up was because he felt the Indians would be more adept at handling Chennai's spin triumvirate of Ashwin, Randiv and S. Jakati better. “They had several spinners and we went with the best combination we could on this wicket,” said Gambhir.
Chennai's S. Anirudha, who benefited from KKR's largesse on the field — he was dropped twice — went on to top score with 64, and was the first to admit that the knock was not his best. “To be honest, initially I thought I was very much in control but towards the end as the wicket got slower I also slowed down. Probably, I should have got 10 to 15 runs more,” he said.
“I really wanted to open the innings for Chennai. Before this season I did talk to the owners and told them that if there was a chance to open I was willing to put my hand up and take the opportunity,” Anirudha said.
Keywords: IPL 2011