Abu Dhabi: Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir was today confidence personified and said his team will end up "winning most times" if it puts up a big score, which can complement the bowling attack it possesses.
The seventh Indian Premier League kicked off here today with an emphatic 41-run win for Kolkata Knight Riders over Mumbai Indians, as Jacques Kallis set the tone with a 46-ball 72 before Sunil Narine completed the task with four wickets.
"We've got a very good bowling attack and if we put runs on the board most of the times we'll end up winning," a confident Gambhir said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "A quality batter like Kallis knows when to accelerate and if either me or him stays till the 15th over we'll get a good score.
We have Morne's (Morkel) pace and Narine and (Piyush) Chawla in the spin department and Vinay's (Kumar) is pretty good at the death as well," he added. Man of the Match Kallis, who has retired from Test cricket, said it was nice to come back after a break.
"Had a good few months off. It's nice to catch up with friends and family, but I worked hard on my cricket to help Kolkata this season. "There was more bounce this season which suited. Kept the good balls out at the start and cashed it in the death," Kallis said.
The South African veteran was full of praise for Morkel and Narine. "Morne started great at the start with the ball and Narine was brilliant as well. I probably haven't got too many years left and I'm just looking forward to having some fun in the middle."
Though the first phase of the tournament has moved out of India, a large crowd trooped in to cheer the two teams. Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said there was a lot to learn from this defeat. "It's disappointing, first game of the season.
Lots to learn from this game. We will take the positives from this game, although there weren't many. I hope the guys stay positive and enjoy each other's company. It's a long tournament," Sharma said.
Opting to bat, KKR rode on Kallis and Manish Pandey's 64 to post a competitive 163 for five, before restricting Mumbai Indians to 122 for seven at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, with Narine returning match-winning figures of 4/20.
KKR's innings was built on a 131-run second-wicket partnership between Kallis and Manish Pandey (64). Sharma said, "They batted really well, we didn't get a wicket when we wanted and they knew with eight wickets in hand they went after the bowling.
We tried our best, Malinga bowled really well and I hope the guys can turn it around as quickly as possible. "There was a fair bit of grass on the wicket, there was a bit of bounce. Odd balls were stopping and coming so it wasn't true. It played well but we didn't bat well. Still 13 more games and I hope we come back strongly."