Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum has admitted that his team was outplayed by a very good Chennai Super Kings (CSK) side in the IPL 2021 final.
CSK defeated KKR by 27 runs in the summit clash to clinch the IPL 2021 title in Dubai on Friday (October 15).
Asked to bat first, CSK posted a massive 192/3 in their stipulated 20 overs on the back of Faf du Plessis’ 86 off 59 balls. Moeen Ali (37*), Ruturaj Gaikwad (32), and Robin Uthappa (31) also made notable contributions with the bat.
In reply, Knight Riders were restricted to 165/9 despite the 91-run opening stand between Shubman Gill (51) and Venkatesh Iyer (50). Shardul Thakur (3-38), Josh Hazlewood (2-29), and Ravindra Jadeja (2-37) starred with the ball, which ensured the fourth IPL title for Chennai.
“It’s a shame that we fell short, but we were outplayed by a very good CSK side today,” McCullum said at the post-match press conference.
The likes of Nitish Rana (0), Sunil Narine (2), Eoin Morgan (4), Dinesh Karthik (9), Shakib Al Hasan (0), and Rahul Tripathi (2) failed to reach the double-digit mark.
McCullum rued the middle-order collapse in the all-important game.
“Yeah, I think, that’s a fair assessment. I think, our bowling group did really good job, we fielded well and our top-order batting was superb, but unfortunately we weren’t quite able to get the real impact through our middle-order players.
“…there is a lot of experience there and they did not have the greatest of tournaments and that can happen at times,” he said.
“…but again I am just really proud of all the guys for their efforts and what a story it was to go as close as we did after being under the pump half way through the,” he added.
KKR had won only two out of the seven games during the first half of IPL 2021 but the side bounced back strongly in the UAE leg to qualify for the playoffs and then the final.
“…more positives than negatives, that is for sure and we walk away with our head held high,” McCullum asserted.
He also explained why Russell, who was recovering from a hamstring injury, could not feature in the final.
“…Andre obviously had a hamstring tear early on in the competition. He worked unbelievably hard to try and get himself available. He was still at risk there. And it was a risk, I felt in a final, we just couldn’t afford to take,” he said.
“And then we had another hamstring issue with Rahul Tripathi, so, look, such is the nature of hamstrings that he was never really sure whether they are going to be fully healed or not, and it’s such a big risk.
“…in the end we decided to go for the guys who had done so well for us to get into the final and I am really proud of all their achievements,” he added.