Skipper Eoin Morgan hailed teammate Venkatesh Iyer’s fearlessness and called him a “real find” for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). This was after the side’s five-wicket defeat against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the 45th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, at Dubai.
Sent in to bat first, Venkatesh Iyer led KKR’s batting charge with a 49-ball 67 to see the side to 165. He was later trusted to bowl the final over of the match, with PBKS requiring five from it. He dismissed KL Rahul and would have taken the game deeper had Shahrukh Khan not been dropped on the next ball. Earlier, he almost pulled off a seemingly impossible catch of KL Rahul at the boundary line.
“Yeah, he (Venkatesh Iyer) is some player. He’s a real find for us, has been with us the whole campaign, and we have watched him in practice. Above all, his attitude is fantastic for a guy that plays fearlessly as he does with the bat. He takes a lot of responsibility with the ball.
‘Dre Russ [Andre Russell] leaves a huge gap in the all-rounder position for us but to have someone come in and contribute is outstanding,” said Eoin Morgan in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Having been on the bench in the first tournament phase, Venkatesh Iyer made his IPL debut in the second phase in UAE. In the five matches he has played, he has smashed 193 runs at an average of 48.25, striking at 142. Apart from his safe fielding, he also has three wickets to his name.
Eoin Morgan cited poor fielding and dropped catches as the primary cause for the loss. The England star set the tone by dropping Mayank Agarwal in the first over as the batter went on to slam a 27-ball 40.
“Initially we didn’t field that well, we put catches down, myself early and other guys, it has cost us. When the game gets that tight towards the end, extra few wickets down would have helped us.
‘Equally, I thought we fought hard, batted really well and probably had a par score. Not a winning score on that wicket, but I thought the bowlers did a good job. Kings played well, and then we fought back. Catches have cost us,” said Eoin Morgan on the defeat.
“In real-time, I thought KL Rahul was out”: Eoin Morgan
Eoin Morgan thought KL Rahul was out in the penultimate over before the matter became the subject of debate. In what looked like a brilliant clean catch by Rahul Tripathi, the PBKS skipper was ruled not out by the third umpire after analyzing it carefully.