Sourav Ganguly has put down Kolkata Knight Riders' comprehensive defeat against Chennai Super Kings to poor bowling at the death and the loss of early wickets in the chase. Kolkata, playing at home, were in a strong position after taking three wickets - Matthew Hayden, M Vijay and Suresh Raina - in the first 10 overs. But MS Dhoni and S Badrinath retaliated with an unbeaten 109-run stand to push their team to 164, which their bowlers defended with ease.
"We were not up to the mark in last five overs, gave away 60-odd runs. Then we kept losing wickets in run chase. We have to address that. Last four-five overs (of the Chennai innings) took the game away from us," Ganguly said after his team's first defeat in the tournament.
Dhoni and Badrinath began their surge in the 15th over, when Angelo Mathews was struck for a boundary over short fine leg and a massive six over long-on. The last six overs of the Chennai innings yielded 83. "We'll talk about our death bowling, but you have to give credit to Dhoni for the shots he played," Ganguly said.
When asked if Kolkata missed a fifth bowler, he said: "We have five bowlers with Brad Hodge and Laxmi Ratan Shukla. Probably we could have bowled Hodge a few more overs."
The Kolkata reply, too, was lacklustre. They lost their two star batsmen from the previous game, Brad Hodge and Manoj Tiwary, within the two overs, and their middle order, including Ganguly, offered little resistance as Kolkata were shot out for 109. "We played too many shots up the order and kept losing wickets. Hopefully, we'll learn from this and come back a better team," Ganguly said.
Dhoni, despite the thumping win, expected more from his bowlers in the games to follow. "We were worried about our bowling both with the new ball and at the death," he said. "I still think a couple of our bowlers were a little short with their length and on a slow track like this you can be punished. It's an area which needs improvement, but it feels good to have a victory under the belt."
The slowish nature of the track, Dhoni said, ensured a score of above 150 was going to be difficult to chase. "You are always under pressure in this format of the game, but we always felt a total of 150 would be a good score on this wicket because it was on the slower side."