Hyderabad: Their place in the semifinal already assured ahead of today's encounter, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir said there was no place for complacency in their inconsequential final Group A match of the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 against Dolphins here.
Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey smashed attacking half centuries to keep IPL champions KKR's winning run intact with a convincing 36-run victory over Dolphins. "It was important not to be complacent. We have been chasing last few games, so we wanted to let our batters play with freedom without scoreboard pressure. The guys took responsibility. With dew it was getting tough for spinners. So we also wanted to put our bowlers under pressure as well," Gambhir said at the post-match presentation.
While Utahappa blazed his way to a fiery 85 off 55 balls with the help of 13 boundaries, Pandey matched his senior partner stroke for stroke en route his 47-ball 76-run knock which was studded with five fours and five huge sixes.
The duo stitched an unbeaten 153 runs stand for off just 15 overs for the third wicket to power KKR to 187 for two after electing to bat and Sunil Narine picked up three wickets for 33 runs to restrict Dolphins to 151 for eight in 20 overs.
KKR will now face Hobart Hurricanes in the first semifinal here on Thursday. Man-of-the-match Uthappa complimented his partner Pandey for his splendid knock and giving him company at the middle.
"I needed to get myself in, it was a good wicket but initially was doing a bit. Manish bats the best when he plays freely, he has been hitting it really well in the last couple of weeks," Uthappa said.
"The ball was doing a bit. So after losing wickets in the first six overs, I understood I needed to hold one end up. I knew once Manish got in, he would play the big shots. The dew factor made it a bit difficult for our bowlers," he added. Dolphins captain Morne van Wyk said the South African side failed to cash in on their chances in the tournament as a result of which they are returning winless from here.
"We had opportunities to apply skills, we got ourselves where we could have nailed down a couple of games, but could not. Tonight was another opportunity," he said.
"Some of us had never seen these bowlers, never played on these grounds. Back home, you play against the same guys often, and have a good idea what you are doing. We played against teams used to their conditions. Tough cricket, learnt a lot, we will be taking back a lot to South Africa. We are not going to let these losses affect our winning culture. We have a winning culture, character, a very good team and something we are proud of," van Wyk signed off.