New Delhi: Kolkata Knight Riders pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, who picked up three wickets for 23 runs to help his side beat Delhi Daredevils in the IPL on Monday, said it was tough to make a comeback after an injury layoff.
KKR defeated Daredevils by four wickets in a keenly-contested match and Coulter-Nile said he was happy to have contributed to the team’s success.
“Making a comeback from injury, I had to focus on my role. Getting back was tough, it was long time out of the game. Probably it was hard years of my life. Playing T20 cricket, doing well and contributing to the win, all worth in the end," the Australian said at the post-math press conference.
Coulter-Nile and Sunil Narine controlled bowling effort restricted daredevils to 168 for seven, and then Yusuf Pathan (59) and Manish Pandey (69 not out) anchored the chase to perfection as KKR overwhelmed the target with a ball to spare.
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However, KKR were struggling at one stage with their top three batsmen back in the pavilion with the team scoreboard reading 21 for three.
“We back our top-6 batsmen and losing one or two wickets at the top does not really bother us. Yusuf (Pathan) and Manish (Pandey) have been doing well and we back our middle and lower order to come good even if we lose wickets at the top," said Coulter-Nile.
Umesh Yadav was the most expensive KKR bowler today with figures of 4–0–53–1. Young Daredevils batsman Rishabh Pant hit him for 26 runs in an over where three sixes and two fours were hit. But Coulter-Nile defended his pace colleague, saying: “I don’t think Umesh went wrong. He had his plans, he tried to execute them but sometimes in T20 a batsman gets away."
Asked if KKR would be experimenting with their opening combination throughout the season, Coulter-Nile said, “We were banking on Chris Lynn to set us up at the top of the order. So in his absence someone or the other would have to do the job and we are still looking at things."
The 29-year-old pacer said his captain Gautam Gambhir may come across as aggressive on the field but that is completely unlike his off-field demeanour.
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“He is a really good captain and a guy. Off the field he is completely calm and controlled," said Coulter-Nile, who was declared the man-of-the-match.
The Australian said batting second gives the team the time to assess the conditions and that was the reason KKR were comfortable in chasing.
“All the teams back their batting and I think it gives you time to assess the conditions. You can plan the chase whatever be the target," said Coulter-Nile.
Daredevils fast bowler Pat Cummins, meanwhile, rued the fact that they allowed Pathan and Pandey to settle down and failed to capitalise on the initial advantage.
“We were definitely expecting a win after we saw off the top three Kolkata batsmen but we let them (Pathan and Pandey) settle in. We got the three big wickets and we should have tried to attack more. It was a good partnership and we let the game slip," said Cummins.
Heaping praise on Pandey, Cummins said: “He played a really good innings." Cummins said he was enjoying bowling along side Zaheer Khan.
“I wish I could take him to Australia with me. I am really enjoying working with him," concluded Cummins.