IPL 2019: On-field tension led to Kolkata Knight Riders' downfall
Needing to win against Mumbai on Sunday to qualify for the play-offs, two-time champions KKR slumped to a nine-wicket thrashing at the Wankhede to exit the tournament
Even as Kolkata Knight Riders failed to make the playoffs, by losing their must-win game against Mumbai Indians on Sunday, it was the manner of surrender that caught the eye bringing to the fore the feud within the team that has cost them dearly in this IPL.
Needing to win against Mumbai on Sunday to qualify for the play-offs, two-time champions KKR slumped to a nine-wicket thrashing at the Wankhede to exit the tournament. It did not need assistant coach Simon Katich to point out that there was discontent on the field and among the players, but the fact that he washed the dirty linen in public laid bare the mood in the camp which Andre Russell had spoken about recently.
"There is no doubt and we can't hide from the fact that there was some tension on the field. That was pretty evident in the last few games after we got into a bit of a roll with losses. We have to address that as a group," Katich said at the post-match press conference.
It started with Andre Russell speaking out in public that he should bat at No.4 after KKR's slide began. Russell has been their mainstay this season, so much so that an over-reliance on him hurt them on Sunday as Robin Uthappa and skipper Dinesh Karthik failed miserably. Russell went on to question Karthik's leadership by highlighting the team's bad decisions in a fiery presser ahead of their home game against Mumbai Indians. "We have been a good team making bad decisions," Russell had said, slamming Karthik's leadership qualities.
On Sunday, after being 49 for 0 at the end of the Powerplay, KKR showed that they did not pay heed to what Russell had said as Karthik came out to bat and not Russell. Karthik and Uthappa laboured to 40 off 47 balls after which Russell was out for a first-ball duck.
Players not united
After their fifth loss on the trot against SRH on the road, some senior players including Karthik and Uthappa went to Mumbai and didn't travel with the team to Kolkata, raising a few eyebrows. It was learnt that team owner Shah Rukh Khan was not happy with the team's show and displeased at the over dependence on Russell. After KKR's loss to RR at home, their sixth in a row, Karthik was also asked about his captaincy being questioned, to which he said that he expected such questions.
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