Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach Simon Katich believes that his team’s home losses against Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier in the season were missed opportunities, and eventually made the difference between qualifying for the Playoffs and finishing fifth.
“Looking back at our season now, there were two missed opportunities, which were the games against Rajasthan and RCB at home,” Katich said at the post-match press conference after KKR’s nine-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians in the final match of the league stages on Sunday.
“To lose those two games, they’re always going to come back to hurt us in the end. If you don’t win your games at home, that’s what catches up with you. The pitch suits our batsmen’s style of play, given how flat it’s been.”
Batting first at the Wankhede against MI, KKR could only manage a total of 133/7 in 20 overs, with Robin Uthappa scoring a rather laboured 47-ball 40. And while Katich acknowledged that Uthappa could have gone about his innings differently, he also gave the Mumbai bowlers credit.
“Whenever he’s (Uthappa) entered the fray, it’s always been from the eight to nine over mark and we lost our first wicket today straight after the Powerplays. That’s Robin Uthappa’s role, to bat at the top of the order,” he said.
“Unfortunately it didn’t happen for him today but in terms of the way he’s gone about it, he’s certainly enjoyed the freedom coming at the top of the order. Sometimes, showing intent is what you have to do in this form of the game. It’s not about biding your time and hope that you can play catch-up at the end.
“Credit to Mumbai’s bowlers today, they’re a class act. Hardik Pandya was outstanding, Along with (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Lasith) Malinga. They outclassed us with the ball and their plans today were very good. They exploited the conditions well, it was a slowish wicket, and in the end, we weren’t good enough.
“It did go wrong, that’s for sure. It’s always tough to come to Mumbai and we don’t have a good record here. Yes, it would have been nice to win today but to finish where we did is probably what we deserved. We had a good start but fell away in that middle phase (of the tournament).”
Finally, Katich spoke about the positives his side could take from the tournament.
“Overall, with our season there were a lot of positive signs. Young Shubman Gill looks like a huge talent for the future. He’s done a variety of roles for us and played the ball really well. I thought a lot of the overseas players played strongly.
“And from the bowling perspective, Sandeep Warrier showed a lot for us in the last three games,” he concluded.