After inspiring Kolkata to a hard-fought win against Delhi, Sourav Ganguly hinted that the changes made to the bowling attack proved crucial to the result. Kolkata benched Shane Bond and Jaidev Unadkat, while Murali Kartik missed out due to injury. The replacements - Ajanta Mendis, Ashok Dinda and Iqbal Abdulla - were Kolkata's best bowlers on the day.
"It is always a difficult decision to leave Shane Bond out," Ganguly said after the 14-run victory. "I wasn't sure whom to play, Bond or Mendis, when we reached the ground. But then on seeing the wicket, I thought Mendis would do well. Even Iqbal Abdulla bowled well. He is a youngster and every time he gets an opportunity, he proves himself."
Ganguly and Chris Gayle gave Kolkata the perfect start, before they were pegged back, losing 3 for 17 in 3.1 overs. Angelo Mathews and Manoj Tiwary managed to reclaim the momentum in the end overs, but Ganguly noted that his team missed out on a few runs. "I think we should have got 190 today. We were a bit stuck during the middle overs," he said.
Chasing 182, Delhi were in the race thanks to a whirlwind 99-run stand in 58 balls between Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, before Ganguly ran the latter out. Sehwag's dismissal at 134 for 4 in the 15th over tilted the game Kolkata's way, and Ganguly acknowledged that was the turning point. "Till the time Sehwag was around, I thought they were very much in the match. He is a champion batsman and when he bats, anything is possible. So Sehwag, along with Gambhir, kept them in the match. It was only when Sehwag was dismissed that we began to sense victory."
When asked about his excellent fielding - apart from running out Gambhir, he held a smart catch, and threw himself around - Ganguly's response was tongue-in-cheek. "As far as my fielding is concerned - I'm getting younger," he said.
Kolkata's win continues a trend of alternating wins and losses in their last five games, and Ganguly admitted they needed to be more consistent. "We have been playing well for quite some time now. Hopefully, we will be able to win the next match. Every time we win one, we lose the very next game," Ganguly said.
Gambhir, the Delhi captain, was disappointed with the way the chase unfolded. "I think we should have finished the game as we had it in control. With wickets in hand, we should have achieved the target. But that is what happens in this format. You tend to panic and then you lose wickets. That's what happened to us today. But all credit goes to KKR, they played excellently," Gambhir said.
"Obviously, my run-out was the turning point. Till then we were very much in the game. We needed around 90 odd from 10 overs which was absolutely achievable. We got two boundaries in that over and at that point of time we didn't need that single. It was a mistake on my part and it was disaster," he said.