Kolkata Knight Riders opener Robin Uthappa has said the "batting chemistry" he shares with his partner Gautam Gambhir has helped their productivity in the IPL. Gambhir and Uthappa shared a 92-run opening stand in Knight Riders' eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday. While Uthappa made a 34-ball 38, Gambhir was unbeaten on 90 off 60 deliveries in the chase.
"The batting chemistry between us is really good. Like today, in the initial part of the innings, Gauti was taking some time and then I went on the offensive for a little bit. Then I got hit and Gauti took over from there," Uthappa told iplt20.com. "That is where all the understanding and the complementing each other factor comes into the picture - in situations like that. When I found it difficult to grip the bat, Gambhir took the onus upon himself and I played second fiddle where I was just rotating the strike to give him a lot more of the strike during the course of the innings. He did what was required of him - to take the onus on himself."
With 1094 runs in 27 innings, Uthappa and Gambhir have the second-highest aggregate for an opening pair in the IPL, after Chennai Super Kings' M Vijay and Michael Hussey. In Knight Riders' title-winning campaign in 2014, Uthappa and Gambhir had two century and three half-century stands and ended the season with second-highest aggregate - 490 runs in 11 innings. Uthappa was bought by Knight Riders in the 2014 auction and has opened with Gambhir in all but five matches since.
"It helps to have a stable opening combination throughout the tournament," Uthappa said. "I think we kind of cracked it in the first year when I joined KKR. Once we got that figured, it became a very formidable opening partnership.
"I think myself and Gautam complement each other beautifully and we have a great understanding between each other. We understand the importance of rotating strike and backing each other. We know exactly what to say to each other when we are batting in the middle, during the course of the innings."
Uthappa also said the off-field relationship he shared with Gambhir helped their on-field performance: "We have played a lot of cricket together. We do open a lot together so there is a great understanding, and over the years we have gotten along really well. It has also got to do a lot with the kind of relationship we share off the field, which has always been great with him. I do believe when you spend so much time with each other, and you have been opening consistently over a period of time, you tend to find your space and stay within that. You also help each other out."
Knight Riders' win over Sunrisers in Hyderabad was their first of six successive matches away from home, and Uthappa hoped they could build on the success. They now have two wins from three games this season.
"Winning games away from home matters a lot. We are playing six on the bounce outside our home ground, so it is important for us to start well," Uthappa said. "We are very happy with the way we played this game. I truly believe that we will be really successful if, more often than not, we play to our potential."