After suffering a 25-run defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals, the skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 46 runs in 41 balls, while chasing 170 posted by Kolkata Knight Riders on a slow wicket, received criticism for slowing down the run rate after a solid start. Coming in to chase in the second innings, Rahane and Rahul Tripathi got off to a flying start and reached 51/1 in 6 overs. But Rahane and Sanju Samson slowed down the run rate after 10 overs, which eventually saw them falling behind the target, and getting eliminated from the tournament.
Speaking to reporters after the match, the RR captain defended the strategy and said that his side was planning to bat deep to chase down the total. “I think with our batting line-up, we wanted to go deep. When me and Sanju were batting, we wanted to go deep and if Klaasen can come when they have seven or eight overs left, I think that was a perfect opportunity for him,” he said.
The 29-year old further added that the strategy was not wrong and credited KKR bowlers for doing a terrific job. “Unfortunately, we didn’t cross the line but I don’t think our strategy was wrong there. I think KG’s [Krishnappa Gowtham] batting position… he batted well at number 6 or 7. The credit goes to KKR’s bowling unit, Rahane said.
Rahane also defended the decision to send Heinrich Klaasen over Krishnappa Gowtham in the batting order, in spite of the better strike rate of the latter. “I think if you see, Klaasen is a really good batsman and he did really well in the last game. It is difficult when you don’t get those runs… you try and think what if you had sent Gowtham at that number. We sent Klaasen… yes he tried his best but again KKR bowlers, especially the spinners, were really good,” Rahane said.
Kolkata Knight Riders will now take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second Qualifying match on May 25, for a chance to make it to the final against Chennai Super Kings.