IPL 2021: Brendon McCullum hails Kolkata Knight Riders' turnaround in UAE leg

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum lavished praise on the team, particularly the top order of Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana.

Kolkata Knight Riders became the fourth team on the last day of the league stages in the IPL 2021 playoffs.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni was full of praise for opponents Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), following his side’s triumph in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 final. Dhoni certainly takes a few moments to praise the opposition after an encounter, but the extensive manner in which he hailed the Kolkata-based franchise certainly left many stunned. It was quite worthy of the same with KKR pulling off a stunning comeback in the UAE leg of IPL 2021, having seemed unlikely to even make the playoffs after the first half.

“Before I start talking about CSK, it’s important I talk about KKR. For the position they were in after the first phase, it is very difficult to come back and do what they have done. If any team deserved to win the IPL this year, I feel it was KKR. I think the break helped them. Coming to CSK we shuffled a few players, we used them in different ways. Important was to take the responsibility. I felt we had match-winners game after game. People who were in form they ensured they were scoring throughout the tournament and others were chipping in. Every final is special,” said Dhoni after the match as quoted by Cricbuzz.

“The break probably came at a really good time for us”

KKR head coach Brendon McCullum was similarly full of praise for his players, hailing them for showing spirit and adopting an aggressive approach.

“The break probably came at a really good time for us to be honest. It can be hard in a tournament such as the IPL to be able to keep your composure when results are going against you. Where we sat after seven games, with only two wins, it was pretty disappointing. So the break came at a good time. During that time, we had some conversations right throughout the few months in between with some guys, and just tried to smooth out a couple of rough edges,” he said in the post-match press conference as quoted by Cricbuzz.

“I always felt that our intent needed to increase to be able to put pressure back on the opposition. I cannot talk highly enough of our top four Indian batters in particular for what they were able to achieve in the second half of the competition. It takes guts to play the way that they did and it takes courage to change the method and to trust the method that us as coaches were asking them to play, which was a more up-tempo game. But they were absolutely fantastic, and were such a massive reason why we were a huge chance in this competition, why we made it as well as what we had. So we’ve certainly got something to work with there, moving forward,” added McCullum.

“Venkatesh Iyer has been quite an incredible story”

The KKR head coach was full of praise for opener Venkatesh Iyer, who smashed 370 runs in 10 innings, at an average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47.

“Venkatesh Iyer has been quite an incredible story. Looking back, he was actually going to play the next game when we were in India. He was actually going to be in that squad then. But in a funny way, the break came at a good time there too. I think it gave him the opportunity just to get another couple of months of cricket under his belt to understand that his opportunities weren’t too far away. And then for him, it was a matter of just bringing the game which he owns, the Venkatesh Iyer gameplan to the table, which is aggressive and (full of) intent,” said McCullum.

Sportslumo Desk

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