After registering their second win of the season, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Eoin Morgan lauded his bowlers and termed it an impressive performance against Punjab Kings. A spirited bowling performance from KKR restricted Punjab Kings to 123/9 in their allotted 20 overs. In reply, skipper Morgan and Rahul Tripathi led the run-chase and scored 47* and 41 runs respectively to put the side over the line with 20 balls to spare.
"Nice to lead the team. We've worked incredibly hard, but didn't perform as well as we would have liked initially. Today our performance was really, really impressive, especially from our bowlers and the way we started and kept the pressure throughout. On a wicket like that, in 12th or 13th over the ball continued to slide on and got better and better," Morgan said after the game.
"Mavi was only in his second game this season, and bowling four together is something we don't do this often. His match-up against Gayle was favourable. He had started well last game so huge credit to him. The advantage we have over most spinners is we have variation spinners with drift and turn, and today they were exceptional. Still a lot of time to go in the tournament (on getting off the bottom of the table), we can't take it for granted," he added.
Morgan also spoke about the Covid-19 situation in the country and said: "It's challenging and things have to be managed for the players and staff, and we know the horrific nature of what's happening outside the bubble. We try and lend our support and we've seen how devastating it is not only in India but around the world. If you're going out stay safe, wear a mask, maintain social distance. We've seen huge amounts of tough times, even at home. On behalf of KKR we wish everyone well. We can stick together, we can beat this thing."
Chasing 124, KKR had a wobbly start as they three wickets inside the first three overs. Nitish Rana (0), Shubman Gill (9) and Narine (0) departed cheaply as Punjab bowlers gave their all to defend the low score.
But the 66-run stand between Morgan and Tripathi for the fourth wicket depleted any chances of a turn-around in the encounter.
The duo added runs quickly and took charge on Punjab bowlers. Deepak Hooda bagged Tripathi in the 11th over after he had scored 41 runs studded with seven fours. Andre Russell joined Morgan in the middle after Tripathi's dismissal. Russell's nine-run stint ended in the 15th over as a sharp throw from Arshdeep Singh hit the base of the stumps and found him short of the crease.
Dinesh Karthik came in to bat at number seven. Karthik and Morgan then stitched an unbeaten 28-run match-winning stand. Karthik remained unbeaten on 12 runs while Morgan scored not out 47 off 40 including two sixes and four 4s. For Punjab, Mohammed Shami, Moises Henriques, Arshdeep and Hooda picked one wicket each.