Durban: Heaving a sigh of relief after his team tasted the first win in the second Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain Brendon McCullum said no ground is big enough for Chris Gayle when he gets going.
After the defeat against the Hyderabad Deccan Chargers in their tournament opener, the Knight Riders took Tuesday’s match against Kings XI Punjab as an opportunity to shrug off the setback and bounce back.
The rain-interruption did help them but McCullum felt with Gayle in such ominous form, it would have been difficult to stop the rampaging left-hander.
“It was a nice result after the first match defeat and we bounced back at the right time to gain some momentum,” McCullum said after Knight Riders won the rain-marred match by 11 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method with Gayle remaining unbeaten on 44 from 26 balls.
“Chris played really magnificent upfront. It was tough batting on out there for everyone except Chris. And when he hits the ball so well as he did today, no ground is big enough for him,” McCullum said of the talismanic West Indian.
McCullum’s opposite number Yuvraj Singh, meanwhile, was sombre after Kings XI Punjab found themselves at the wrong side of yet another rain-curtailed match and admitted the bowling department lacked both firepower and sting.
“It was bit unfortunate again,” said the left-hander.
“We dropped a couple of catches, then came rain and Duckworth-Lewis method. It was just not our day,” he rued.
Conceding the side would have to sort out bowling woes to bounce back in the tournament, Yuvraj said, “Hopefully we will get (the injured duo of) Sreesanth and Brett Lee as early as possible. The next games are more important to us than those were before and we need to pick up the points now.”
Gayle too lamented the “silly finish” to the game but was happy to be among the runs.
“It was a good innings I guess. Brendon (McCullum) at the other end took pressure off me,” he said.
Asked if he walked out with the sole intention of going bang-bang right from the first ball, Gayle said, “Not really. I knew it was important to see the first two overs. Once you are through that, you can pick it from there.”
Kings XI Punjab: 158 for 6 in 20 overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 79 for 1 in 9.2 overs (Chris Gayle not out 44, Brendon McCullum 21; Vikramjeet Malik 1/23).