Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Manish Pandey credited all-rounder Yusuf Pathan’s quick-fire cameo for the comprehensive 35-win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL T20 cricket tournament here.
Put in to bat, KKR stuttered after a flying start but Pathan’s 30 not out from 19 balls pushed their total of 167/7 before Sunrisers Hyderabad fell short by 35 runs.
“I was batting well, if I got through, probably more runs could have come. In the end, Yusuf’s knock of 30 not out from 19 balls was a crucial one. It was a very good score on this wicket,” Pandey told a post-match news conference.
He also hailed the effort of their spin duo of Brad Hogg and Johan Botha for doing a fine job in absence of the spin spearhead Sunil Narine, who is yet to get a clearance for his suspected bowling action.
“We’re missing Sunil obviously. He’s been a great part of KKR team but I think Johan Botha and Brad Hogg are making a lot of difference to the side. They bowled in a crucial time of the game. Hogg has been phenomenal for us. He’ll go a long way.”
KKR are eyeing six points from their next two concluding league games at home against Delhi Daredevils (on May 7) and against Kings XI Punjab (May 10) to virtually seal a last-four spot.
“We have the the home advantage. We had a really good outing today. Both batsmen and bowlers did everything as was targetted. We have to win all the upcoming games,” he said.
Pandey was looking good on 33 from 26 deliveries but was run out as their middle-order had another forgettable outing while none of their batters managed to convert their starts.
He further backed his fellow batsman especially Suryakumar Yadav who’s going through a rough patch. “The middle order is the backbone of the team. It’s their job to take the team through and make it safe for the side. We did pretty good. We’re just waiting for Surya for some good knocks for him. He’s a great hitter. Hopefully all of us will come good in the future games.”
On the Yadav’s unorthodox technique, he said, “It’s risky but it fetches runs. In Twenty20, batsmen have to invent runs. This is his batting style but on other side, it’s a bit risky but as far as runs are coming it’s good.”