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Just chill is KKR pill

Updated on: 23 May,2024 07:19 AM IST  |  Ahmedabad
Sunil K Vaidya |

After 8-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 1, Kolkata Knight Riders’s Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz says the key to his team’s success this season is a calm and relaxed dressing room despite the odd defeat

Just chill is KKR pill

KKR’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz (second from left) celebrates a SRH wicket with teammates at Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

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Just chill is KKR pill

Just chill is the mantra behind the Kolkata Knight Riders’s (KKR) dream run in the 17th edition of the Indian Premier League.

“Win or lose, we party after every match at the team hotel. We just chill,” said KKR Afghan star Rahmanullah Gurbaz (23, 14 balls, 2x4, 2x6) at the post-match 
interaction with the media after his team’s victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday.

Grabbing the opportunity

Wicketkeeper Gurbaz, playing his first match of the season, took two catches and provided KKR a quick start with the bat after SRH decided to bat first. KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer (58 not out, 24 balls, 5x4, 4x6) and Venkatesh Iyer (51 not out, 28 balls, 5x4, 4x6) consolidated that start to ensure there were no further hiccups in their chase. They won by a thumping eight-wicket margin (38 balls to spare) for a place in Sunday’s title clash. 

Gurbaz attributed the calm environment to captain Shreyas. “He’s so nice; he’s nice to the players and that’s why I think we have a very calm and nice family,” revealed Gurbaz.

Also Read: IPL 2024, RCB vs RR: Avesh, Ashwin's ball heroics help Rajasthan restrict Bengaluru for 172 runs

KKR extended their victory run to 10 out of 15 matches this season. They lost only three matches, while two games were washed out.

Reiterating that the KKR family bond was strong, Gurbaz said, “I had to play my first match which was like a semi-final. There was pressure. But the team management and teammates took all the pressure off.”

Gurbaz was told by everyone in the dressing room to just go and enjoy the game. Despite his mother still being hospitalised, Gurbaz responded to the KKR’s call to join the team when Phil Salt had to leave and join the England team ahead of next month’s T20 World Cup. “My mother is still recovering in hospital. I speak to her every day. I knew my KKR family needed me here once Salt left, so I came back from Afghanistan and I am happy to be here. My mother is happy for me too,” he said.

Two top Aussie southpaws—KKR’s Mitchell Starc and Sunrisers’s top-scorer Travis Head (533 runs in 13 games) were set for battle on Tuesday.

Starc (4-0-34-3), KKR’s most expensive recruit in IPL history, made it count while Head, had a two-ball stay at the crease. “There were two heavyweight fighters, Travis Head likes to score quickly and be aggressive, and Starc is a real aggressive bowler. At times, there is only one winner and we saw the winner tonight,” Sunrisers’s assistant coach Simon Helmot told the media.

‘SRH will play aggressively’

“But as we have seen over the season, Travis has been on top of the bowlers, so we want him to continue and play in his positive and aggressive way. He and Abhi [Abhishek Sharma] have been tremendous for us. Travis wants to score runs, and I know that he will be back bigger and better on the 24th [of May],” Helmot enthused.

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