Chris Lynn hit a swashbuckling 93 off 41 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders got off to a dream start to their Indian Premier League campaign with a record 10-wicket win against Gujarat Lions at the SCA stadium on Friday. (Full coverage IPL 2017)
While a number of fans and pundits were a bit surprised with the Aussie opening the batting alongside captain Gautam Gambhir, Suryakumar Yadav cleared the air at the post-match press conference, stating that it was a pre-planned move and not decided in haste after having a look at the opposition total.
“Since he (Lynn) came to Kolkata and started the camp, we had one thing in mind. Our captain backed him (Lynn) to open the batting with him. He told him straight away that he was going to open in the tournament so it was not instant, it was pre-planned,” the aggressive middle-order batsman said. “I think it was a fantastic start. Before coming here we had a brilliant preparation in Kolkata for six to seven days, played a few practice games as well. We wanted to start the tournament on a high and this was the best thing to go about in the tournament.”
Having put in to bat after losing the toss, Suresh Raina played a captain’s knock to help his side post 183 on the board. Yadav, who had been axed from the T20 side earlier this year, also said that he was gearing up to earn his spot back in the squad.
“I’ve been working really hard on-and-off the field and on my fitness,” he said. “Everyone wants to be a part of a big team obviously but currently I’m just looking at winning games for KKR. That’ll be my first step and rest I leave it to God, because hard work pays off.” Yadav had managed to aggregate just 60 runs in six innings in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The Knights’ victory was the fifth instance where the side batting second in an IPL game had managed to win the game. Asked if the wicket was too flat, Yadav said: “It was a flat pitch, agreed, but sometimes high scores on such pitches also get challenging,” he said.
Yadav defended the choice of going ahead with two spinners on such conditions. “Both of them (Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine) are very good spinners and we like playing more spinners because it’s our strength and it has been our strength. But as you’ve seen in the auction, we’ve picked up a few good fast bowlers as well, so it’ll be a good balanced team for us.”