Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir on Thursday said Andre Russell and Ryan ten Doeschate played "unbelievable" knocks and also hailed spinner Sunil Narine for his economical spell, which according to him were instrumental in his side's seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League Twenty20 opener in Hyderabad.
Chasing a competitive 158 for win, Russell smashed a breathtaking 58, while Ten Doeschate struck a fine unbeaten 51 to guide IPL champions KKR to a seven-wicket win over CSK in their first Group A match.
Narine too played his part with a misery spell of four overs during which he picked up one wicket giving away just nine runs.
"The way Russell batted, the way Ryan batted was unbelievable. I need to mention Sunil Narine, he is a special guy. Giving nine runs in four overs always controls the game for us. This is one tournament we haven't won. Guys are pretty motivated to go out there and turn it around for us," Gambhir said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"I think after the first 15 overs we thought we could have restricted them to an even smaller total. We didn't start off well in the chase but we always knew it was a matter of a couple of good overs. We have a lot of depth in our line-up and a lot of firepower. We were looking to go hard at the top, it didn't work," he added.
CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels his side didn't score enough runs to defend against a side like KKR.
"I don't think we had enough runs on the board. Their spinners bowled very well. I didn't know if we could defend 160 on this track, but the pacers bowled very well," he said.
Dhoni also hailed the efforts of Russell, Ten Doeschate and Narine.
"The difference was their lower-order batting, especially Russell and the other guy (Ten Doeschate)," he said.
Man-of-the-match Russell said he backed himself to come good after his fine showing in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League.
"I was just positive coming from the CPL and was backing myself all the time. I'm a bit used to getting the team over the line, well done to Tendo (Ten Doeschate) as well," he said.
"We just kept rotating it, he told me to stay positive. When you work hard in training, it becomes natural (hitting big). It's all about positive. T20 cricket, I love it.
"It was a very good wicket, it didn't matter who the bowler was. I backed myself against Ashwin and Jadeja to hit them over the line," Russell signed off.