Venkatesh Iyer hugs Rahul Tripathi after KKR’s win. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opener Venkatesh Iyer has admitted that he couldn’t control his emotions after Rahul Tripathi hit a six to put the team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 final.
Chasing 136 in Qualifier 2 against Delhi Capitals (DC) on Wednesday, KKR were cruising at 123 for 1. However, a shocking batting collapse saw them floundering to 130 for 7. With six needed off two balls, Tripathi lofted Ravichandran Ashwin for a maximum to take KKR over the winning line.
The stroke set off wild celebrations in the KKR camp, with Iyer among those running in and hugging Tripathi.
Asked about his emotions after the last-over six, the KKR batter told team’s mentor David Hussey in an interaction posted on IPLT20.COM:
“Fifty celebrations, I don’t celebrate a lot. My ways are different and there was a task in hand to score more runs and get the team through. So it is just a thumbs up and get back to work again. But I really celebrated when Tripathi hit that six because we desperately needed that big hit. I couldn’t control my emotions and ran through in with my chappals and just hugged him.”
Before KKR’s collapse, Iyer (55) and Shubman Gill (46) laid the perfect platform for the team, featuring in an opening stand of 96. On his thought process while going on to bat, Iyer revealed:
“I was not chasing 136, I just went out there and wanted to bat. I wanted to play six overs and then see what the situation was. That thought brought the best and hopefully I keep going.”
The 26-year-old has been a revelation for KKR in the second half of IPL 2021. In nine matches, he has smashed 320 runs at a strike rate of 125 with three half-centuries.
The approach and intent that we are showing has brought us here: Venkatesh Iyer on KKR’s turnaround
When the first half of IPL 2021 ended in India, not many gave KKR a chance of qualifying for the playoffs. They had only won two of their seven matches.
However, led by Iyer at the top, KKR engineered a stunning turnaround in the second leg in the UAE to reach the final. Reflecting on the franchise’s change in fortunes, Iyer observed:
“First half didn’t feature me opening (jokingly). Not just me but the brand of cricket that the entire KKR is playing, not just cricketers but the entire management, the way we are thinking, that is actually the turnaround. The approach and intent that we are showing, both on and off the field, is what has brought us here.”
KKR will now face Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL 2021 final in Dubai on Friday, October 15.