Pune : Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday (April 25) said it’s a difficult task to maintain the momentum they got from their last outing against Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of their game against Rising Pune Supergiant here on Wednesday (April 26). (Preview: RPS vs KKR)
Kolkata thrashed Virat Kohli’s Bangalore by 82 runs at the Eden Gardens on Sunday confining the 2016 IPL champions to a paltry 49, the tournament’s lowest ever score.
Chasing a modest 132 for victory, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme took three wickets each to blunt the famed Bangalore batting order comprising AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Kedar Jadhav besides Kohli. “It’s difficult to set the trend, but it’s more difficult to maintain it,” Gambhir told reporters on the eve of their away game. “We have set the trend of intensity what you want to play with.
Now the biggest challenge is how we can maintain it. That was one phase, now it is up to us. “We have set the benchmark, now we need to maintain it. You know one game it’s easy to do but now people will be expecting us to deliver again. I hope the guys realise that and what I expect from the team and myself as well. It has to start from me,” the southpaw said.
Pune have registered three back-to-back wins and at the heart of their success have been contributions from every member of the playing XI. England all-rounder Ben Stokes starred on Monday as Steve Smith’s side beat Mumbai Indians. “If everyone is contributing, it’s great for the team. In a T20 format, a team that has everyone chipping in is far better than ones who are dependent on one or two individuals,” Gambhir said.
“If Pune is doing that, it’s great. There is more surety of the team performing than one or two individuals doing it every time,” he added. Gambhir said that the success of the last match is now behind them and it’s time to get their act together in the second phase of the tournament.
“The last match is past. This is the second half of the competition and obviously you want to play the second half as well as you can,” the left-handed batsman said.
“We performed decently in the first half but the important thing is how we play in the second half. We have got seven games to go before the playoffs so this phase will be very important for us,” he added. During the innings break on Sunday, Gambhir asked his wards to show some intensity on the field and the boys delivered in style. “I can understand when you have a bad day with the bat or with the ball. But you can’t have a bad day from the intensity point of view. I think that is what you play for and that is something which is in your hand.
So that is what I spoke to them and the team delivered,” Gambhir said. Coulter-Nile has been rested for Wednesday’s engagement, Gambhir informed. “Nathan Coulter-Nile is not travelling. We don’t want to take a lot of workload and manage his schedule well. We have given him four days of rest.”
Gambhir said the team’s biggest motivation is winning the IPL crown for an unprecedented third time. “It’s the squad that makes me the captain I am. The biggest motivation stays if we can win the IPL third time and be the most successful team. That hunger stays and reflects on my teammates as well,” Gambhir said.