Eden Gardens wicket quite all right: Gambhir
KOLKATA, 6 APRIL: Now that it is over, well might Eden Gardens curator Prabir Mukherjee thumb his nose at those who hauled him over the coals in the run-up to it. Gautam Gambhir (in photo), the local side's skipper, and Irfan Pathan, chosen best player, praised the Eden Gardens pitch generously.
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gambhir, truth to tell, was extremely angry with his top-order batsmen after last night's eight-wicket loss to the Delhi Daredevils, blaming on them the team's debacle in their rain-truncated first match in the current Indian Premier League.
Morne Morkel struck twice in successive balls as the Delhi franchise reduced the Kolkata top order to 20/3 and restricted the hosts to 97/9 after a start delayed by two and a half hours.
The Daredevils rode on a 20-ball unbeaten 42 by Man- of-the-Match Irfan Pathan for the victory with five balls to spare in the match that ended well past midnight. Asked whether the rain had played the decisive role, Gambhir said: “Not really. It was still a close game. But the toss was never really in our hands. It's always difficult when you lose three wickets with 20 runs on board.”
Gambhir, however, counted on the positives like Bengal youngster Debabrata Das' sparkling innings of 18 runs from nine balls studded with two sixes. “He batted well at the nets. We knew he had the potential. Hopefully he can take this form forward. Laxmi Ratan Shukla too is in great form. We hope to take the positives. We hope to learn from the mistakes.” Asked whether he was satisfied with the wicket, Gambhir said: “There is always a lot of talk about the wicket. But it was a good wicket which can be assessed from the fact that Delhi successfully chased 98 runs in 12 overs. They played well.” He said the toss had not been a factor.
“If you play good cricket, the toss cannot be a factor. After losing four quick wickets, we did well to get to 97. It was a great effort. But they played some smart and quality cricket. I would have opted to bowl (after winning the toss). But there are certain things which are not in your hands.”
Irfan Pathan ascribed his team's triumph to the Eden Gardens wicket, saying it had got better after the downpour. “The wicket just got better. I've played at the Eden earlier and it's always on the slower side. Probably (the wicket) got settled because of the rain. The ball came nicely on to the bat,” Irfan said. Having hit the Knight Riders' Marchant de Lange for two sixes, he said the South African's pace was just right for batsmen on the Eden Gardens wicket.
“It was coming nicely on to the bat. His pace, it seemed, was just right for batting on this pitch,” he said, adding: “It was a good toss to win.
In shorter games, you generally tend to press the panic button. If you bat first, you don't know what target to set. Morne changed the whole momentum for us,” Irfan said.