Kochi: Kochi Tuskers Kerala captain MahelaJayawardene on Thursday said that Australian Brad Hodge`s late onslaught made the difference in his side`s 17-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League here.
Coming out at number six, Hodge played a cameo of 35 not out from just 19 balls from which he smashed three fours and two sixes to take Kochi score to 156 for five after being put into bat.
He hit two sixes and as many fours to take 21 runs off compatriot Brett Lee in the last over.
"That couple of overs changed the complaxion of the game and made the difference. He was hitting the ball so well and I think he should bat up the order," Jayawardene said after the match.
Jayawardene said he was happy his side won their last home match of IPL 4 to remain in contention for play-offs. "It was a tough game, an important one as well. We needed to win it here as well, our last game in Kochi. KKR were on top of table and we beat them, so we are happy," he said.
"We can surprise a lot of people. We will take one game at a time and hope to be in the play-offs," he added.
Asked about the local players in S Sreesanth, Raiphi Gomez and Prasanth Parameswaran doing well in IPL, Jayawardene said, "We`ve encouraged the local boys to go out there and enjoy themselves. Hodge should bat up the order, those couple of overs made the difference."
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir also conceded that Hodge`s last over assault made the difference. "That last over where Hodge hit those 22 runs made the
difference," Gambhir said.
He felt his side lost the plot in the middle overs after having a good start.
"156 was always a good total on any wicket. We had a good start but should have batted well in the middle overs. We lost the momentum there. We will try and correct the mistakes in our next game," he said.
Asked about KKR`s chances of reaching the play-offs stage, Gambhir said, "Till the time you reach the semifinals, you`re always knocking at the door."
On Eoin Morgan coming good with a 51-ball 66 though he could not take KKR to victory, Gambhir said, "Morgan is a quality player, we knew he will come good at some point. We are hoping he will win us one or two games before he leaves."
Man-of-the-Match Hodge said he was enjoying batting at number six though he used to bat at the top order at home. "It`s a different role for me, and it seems to be working. I used to bat at the top but here the team has many big hitters. I suppose experience players should come down the order," he said.
"It`s a big ground and a 156 is a good total to defend. I`ve been working at the gym a lot and doing my weights and so it paid off in that last over," said Hodge when asked about the huge six he hit off compatriot Brett Lee.