Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) stumbled to a five-wicket defeat against Punjab Kings in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) match in Dubai. After restricting KKR to 165/7. the Punjab Kings chased down the target with three balls remaining.
For KKR, their captain Eoin Morgan's batting woes continued as he was dismissed on 2. Morgan has failed to cross double figures since the resumption of the season in the UAE, scoring 2, 0, 8 and 7 in KKR's last four games. In their first game since resumption against RCB, Morgan did not bat.
KKR head coach Brendon McCullum addressed the concern in the post-match press conference. He said that Morgan has "captained the side really well" but the team wants more runs from him.
"Morgan is one of our senior players and he is one of our international batters. As captain also, in his own head he would have liked to contribute a lot more runs. Actually, I think he has captained the side really well tactically. We want some more runs from him no doubt in that, you need runs from your overseas batters. Look, I am confident that he will come right," said McCullum.
The former New Zealand cricketer lauded Venkatesh Iyer, who has been a find of the season for KKR in the second leg. Iyer played another important knock against PBKS (67 off 49 deliveries), and also took a wicket in the chase.
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"Venkatesh Iyer is definitely an all-rounder. It is not just his cricketing ability, it is his mindset and cricketing brain. He has a great perspective on the sport and he is a guy with huge ambitions, he has a great future as a genuine all-rounder. I think he is one of those cricketers who is going to get better and better. I think what he has done so far shows he belongs at this level," said the KKR head coach.
On the loss, McCullum said that it was a tight finish and "small margins" separated the two sides.
"We played a great game, Punjab Kings deserved to win because they seized the key moments. I still felt we had a chance in the game, with two overs to go, Punjab Kings were in the score exactly we were in our innings. It was touch and go, small margins in this game and it did not go our way against Punjab," said McCullum.
"We have played enough cricket to know that they can go either way. If they go your way, you feel content with it and if it goes the other side, you understand it and wish it had gone your way. I certainly do not think that was the losing or winning of the game."