“Worn out 70-year old.”
“Felt as if I owned half the planet.”
These are some of the phrases Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir used to describe the gamut of emotions he underwent as rain almost washed out the crucial Eliminator and potentially his team from the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League.
“As it is, I am such a poor loser and the possibility of crashing out of a tournament due to rain was killing me,” a candid Gambhir wrote in his captain’s diary on the official Kolkata Knight Riders website.
“I checked the equations and timings again and again and again,” he elaborated on what he was going through during the enforced break. “I was so furious that it made me numb. One part of me said you cannot fight nature. The other half shouted, ‘Why KKR?’ I’d admit that my mind also took me back to the losses against Punjab and Mumbai. One win there and we’d have been in top two and wouldn’t have had to go through this torture. I don’t know how God decides his checks and balances for human beings but I was feeling really hard done by.”
Kolkata eventually won the knockout match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chinnawamy Stadium in Bengaluru by Duckworth-Lewis method, a match that went on till almost 2 am. Opting to bowl first, Kolkata restricted Sunrisers to a modest 128, before overhauling the revised target of 48 in six overs.
Had the match been completely rained out, Sunrisers would have gone through on account of their higher position on the points table. No wonder Gambhir was as worried as he was. However, soon after the rain stopped, the match could continue, thanks to the new drainage system at the Bengaluru stadium, which makes drying the ground swifter.
Such was the efficiency of the drainage system, that Gambhir called it one of Karnataka’s proudest contributions to India, after the Mysore Dosa.
“Rain stopped and Chinnaswamy’s magical drying facility took over,” he wrote. “Karnataka has given us Mysore dosa besides a lot in other areas. I think they can proudly add Chinnaswamy’s drainage facility to that list.”
But Gambhir was very sporting about the result, expressing hope that there will be a more ideal solution to rain-curtailed T20 games. “I felt real sorry for Sunrisers as such losses are tough to take,” he wrote. “I hope someone takes note of rain-affected matches and comes up with a plan B.”
After a match, Gambhir was all praise for his bowlers for restricting the Sunrisers. “A lot of credit to the bowlers. They set the game up for us,” Gambhir said at the post-match presentation ceremony. “The bowlers restricting the Sunrisers batting to 128 was brilliant. There has been times when we’ve lacked intensity. And every run we stop on the field is one less to score and all 11 players were up for that,” he said.
However, Gambhir was disappointed with the batting effort, despite the target being only 48. “We should have been more sensible with the batting, though,” Gambhir said. “It was a much better wicket than we played RCB on. It was coming onto the bat nicely in our innings. I think if you target 160 you will get a good score. You can’t just go on looking for 200 every game.”
With the crucial Qualifier 2 set for Friday evening, Gambhir will be hoping for a better performance from his team and that the rain stays away.