'I wanted to get rid of chokers tag' - Gambhir
Kolkata Knight Riders had been off colour in the UAE, experimenting with their opening combination and unravelling under the pressure of a chase. Two successive losses to Rajasthan Royals from positions of strength did not help their cause. But since then, they have constructed a six-match winning streak that has ushered them into the playoffs and helped dismiss accusations of frailty.
"We knew that we have the bowling attack to defend anything. But to chase has been my personal decision as lot of people have been tagging us as chokers and I wanted to rid of it," Gautam Gambhir said. "The five losses that we had were very close, we were not beaten convincingly. Couple of the games were very close and we should have won it. But this is what the format is all about and freak things do happen.
"One area of concern in the past was we have not been able to finish off the games. We have not been able to deliver the knockout punch, but in the last six games we have been able to do that."
Sunrisers boosted by Warner promotion
Sunrisers Hyderabad have a clutch of opening batsmen to choose from and that meant David Warner spent the majority of the campaign as a floater in the middle order. Since being asked to open, he knocked two successive and match-winning fifties to keep his team in the hunt for a playoff spot. His 90 off 45 against Chennai Super Kings was an example of how he could collar a match and win it on his own.
Sunrisers felt top-heavy in their early games and pushed Warner down to guide the team should they suffer a bad start, as Tom Moody, their coach, said. "Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We had the world's No. 1 T20 batsman, Aaron Finch, opening the batting for us and Shikhar Dhawan. Warner had to play a different role because we felt the left-right hand combination would be more formidable at the top. With Warner coming in at No. 3 and No. 4, it gave us depth and balance."
However, Warner's blitz on Thursday might have sealed that debate, said Dhawan. "I wanted to applaud every shot he played because he was batting magnificently," Dhawan told iplT20.com. "He was clearing the boundary at will and it was quite a sight from the other end. He has been in great touch this season. He is someone who has always batted freely, irrespective of his batting position"
'Heartbreaking that star line-up failed' - Mallya
Virat Kohli was upbeat that Royal Challengers had control of their fate at the toss against Knight Riders. However, a wayward bowling performance contributed to a loss that knocked the side out of the tournament. They struggled to generate a winning momentum and their vaunted batting line-up, which cost them dearly at the auction, could not measure up.
"I am sad and apologise to all amazing RCB fans for the teams poor performance in this IPL," Royal Challengers Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya tweeted after their loss. "It is heartbreaking that the star line up failed."