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Messed it up, says Gambhir

The Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir blamed the batsmen for their 23-run defeat to Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. The Knight Riders batsmen made a mess of the 133-run target.

“We should have chased the target down. But then, we messed it up. We need to pull our socks up in batting and need to sort out a few issues,” Gambhir said later.

George Bailey praised their bowlers. Sandeep Sharma, who picked up three wickets, was adjudged the man of the match.

“The bowlers were outstanding… It’s good to see Sandeep develop into such a good bowler. He’s gone from strength to strength…” the Kings XI captain said.

Put into bat, Kings XI were strangled by spinners Sunil Narine (3 for 24) and Piyush Chawla (3 for 19), who restricted them to 132 for nine.

However, Kings XI came up with a superb bowling effort to dismiss the Knight Riders for 109 with 10 balls to spare at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium and continue their invincible run.

Pacer Sandeep Sharma (3/21), left-arm spinner Akshar Patel (2/16) and Mitchell Johnson (2/22) were the most successful.

Excerpts

George Bailey: The bowlers were outstanding today. They knew they had a small target to defend and went about their job professionally. They bowled a tight line and kept taking wickets at regular intervals… They always kept the pressure on the Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen… That forced the batsmen to make mistakes… Overall, it was a very satisfactory performance from the bowlers.

The middle-order batsmen should have performed today. In the other matches, the top-order batsmen were fantastic. But today, they failed. We probably were 20 or 30 runs short on a tough wicket…

We knew we had a chance if we took early wickets. So we needed the bowlers to bail us out from this situation. And they did a brilliant job. They have been outstanding for two games in a row now.

It’s hard to get the batting order right in this format. Probably, we got it wrong today. We left too much work for the tail-enders… After we lost quite a few wickets, we needed Viru or Miller or either me to stay there till the end.

Sandeep Sharma is a funny man. He often cracks jokes in the dressing room and keeps the spirit high. It’s good to see Sandeep develop into such a good bowler… He’s gone from strength to strength. He’s got a matured head on his shoulders and is very confident of his abilities. He is also very clear in his head and it makes my job a lot easier.

Gautam Gambhir: The bowlers did a fantastic job for us by restricting Kings XI to 132… They were just brilliant today… They bowled a proper line and length and executed the plans really well. I am really impressed with their show.

We should have chased the target down. But then, we messed it up. We need to pull our socks up in batting and need to sort out a few issues. The target was pretty much chaseable… Despite the dew and other factors, we should have chased it down. We needed to get off to a good start but we failed to do so. Still, we should have overhauled the target, especially on this pitch.

Morne is an aggressive bowler and a wicket-taking bowler. We always want a bowler to bowl aggressively and take wickets. So far, he has been brilliant and, hopefully, he will continue in this fashion in the future.

Surya Kumar (Yadav) looks to be a very talented cricketer… He’ll get many more opportunities and may be bat at a better position.

Sandeep Sharma (MoM): It’s a big moment for me… I won the Man of the Match award today. I am enjoying myself… The seniors are also guiding me… It helped me in expressing myself better.

When I’m playing, I’m very serious and focused… But, off the field, I like to play pranks.

I like bowling with the new ball… I try to bowl at a good pace and swing the ball. I’m happy with my performance… The captain has shown a lot of faith in me and I try not to disappoint him.