PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2021: After four consecutive losses, Kolkata Knight Riders bounced back against Punjab Kings with an all-round show, winning the match by five wickets at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday. That win not only lifted KKR from the bottom of the points table but also their spirits. Captain Eoin Morgan hopes that it gives them the momentum going forward.
“I think managing them (the defeats) isn’t that difficult. We have an incredible coaching staff led by a fantastic coach. We have a great CEO and two magnificent owners that always lend their support, whether we’ve won or lost. They’re extremely proud of the franchise and have been one of the reasons why we’ve been so successful over the course of the IPL like a consistent message of going out and playing the KKR way is extremely important. So having that backing certainly helps. It’s nice to be able to reward them now with this, hopefully, the start of something,” Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan said at the post-match press conference on Monday.
PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2021: Morgan credits all-round show
On Monday, bowlers set the stage with some fine performances with Prasidh Krishna bagging three wickets while Sunil Narine and Pat Cummins scalping two each. Young pacer Shivam Mavi and spinner Varun Chakaravarthy also bowled fine spells as Kolkata Knight Riders restricted Punjab to 123 in 20 overs.
“I think the previous games we’ve ebbed and flowed in different areas of the game. I think one thing that we did today really well was combined our bowling, fielding and batting to have a comprehensive win. Up until now, probably from the first much until now we haven’t managed to do that. We’ve bowled well in certain games we haven’t batted well, and vice-versa throughout the tournament. And then in such a high-standard tournament where your performance needs to be consistent. You can’t allow that to happen,” Eoin Morgan said.
PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2021: Morgan plays captain’s innings but top-order fails again
However, Kolkata Knight Riders almost bottled the easy-looking chase with Nitish Rana back to the dugouts for a golden duck. Shubman Gill also failed once again despite a good start. With KKR reduced to 17/3, had it not been for a crucial 66-run stand between Eoin Morgan (47 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (41), they would have lost yet another match. But Eoin Morgan said the win would work as a confidence booster and the side will bounce back from personal shortcomings that they had on Monday.
“Yeah, I think up until now, the team has gone through really tough times. We’ve had a really slow start to the tournament and we haven’t had a little bit of luck that you need. The performance tonight really epitomized how the group wants to play and displayed certainly with the ball exactly how we want to go about our business. So that’s really, really encouraging things throughout a tournament like this you have to continually look forward at what can unfold, as opposed to constantly looking behind. We can’t change anything that’s already been, but building on tonight’s performance is going to be an important move for us,” Eoin Morgan said.
PBKS vs KKR, IPL 2021: ‘We fight the pandemic together,’ Morgan says
As for the COVID-19 crisis that is unfolding around IPL’s bio-secure bubbles, Morgan said it was a similar situation that the UK went through last summer with cricket looking at a gloomy future. But with everyone fighting together, they could overcome the difficult period.
“We’re constantly talking about this situation that’s unfolding outside of our bubble. It’s not nice to be honest, watching from afar, certainly considering how lucky we are to be in a bubble and not be affected by it very much. We obviously lend support and a heartfelt attitude to everybody who is ill or going through tough times. Certainly, in the UK last year, we went through a severe lockdown for prolonged periods of time. And it looked for a long time where cricket wasn’t going to be played for our summer, but coming together and working together, certainly, the guidance of the government, cricket board and everybody at home helped change that,” Morgan said.
“So, the level of understanding that, you know, we fight this together, no matter where in the world you are. So, things like social distancing to going out, wearing the mask, and just generally trying to stay as safe as you can, are very important messages to portray,” he added.
However, he said that sports can continue even with half of the country in still lockdown. “I think certainly when we came out of our first initial lockdown period, I remember the first sport being on TV was probably in New Zealand and then Australia and it was rugby union. Then slowly the Bundesliga started and then the Premier League started and that almost displayed that you can play sport while the country is almost in full lockdown. So certainly, if there’s a template to make that happen, it has happened. But also, as long as it doesn’t disturb what’s happening in the public eye,” he added.