Kolkata Knight Riders had entered Saturday’s match against Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023 at Eden Gardens on the back of an optimistic 21-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
But all of that optimism evaporated completely as they lost to Gujarat by seven wickets. With the bat, Rahmanullah Gurbaz slammed a scintillating 39-ball 81 and Andre Russell smashed a 19-ball 34.
Apart from the duo collectively scoring 115 runs off 58 balls, no other Kolkata batter stepped up as they made only 179/7, something which captain Nitish Rana rued after the defeat.
“I think we were 20-25 runs short. If we keep dropping catches against big teams, I do not think the result will be any different. No one apart from Gurbaz and Russell got going. There were not enough partnerships and had we had a partnership of 40-50 runs, the score could have been more,” he said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Kolkata had kept Gujarat to 98/3 in 12 overs in defence of 179/6. But Vijay Shankar stepped up at the right time to overcome a scare in the middle overs and smash a blazing 51 off just 24 balls while sharing an 87-run partnership with David Miller to complete the chase with 13 balls to spare. Kolkata had also dropped Miller’s catch at 26, something which proved to be decisive.
“We kept them quiet in the middle overs but against such teams, if you do not take your chances, you will end up on the losing side. If we do well in all three departments, only then will we have a chance,” added Rana.
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Rana also urged Kolkata to grab the small moments in the game very well.
“Unless we do that, the result will not be in our favour. I feel the small moments are more important than the big moments. If you do these small things well, like taking catches and fielding well, there are more chances of victory.”
Kolkata’s next match in IPL 2023 will be against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a return fixture at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday.