Gambhir and I complement each other well, says KKR opener Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir have rejuvinated a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders, who have gone on to win their last 5 matches on a stretch. The opening duo has stitched together three 50+ and two 100+ partnerships in the last 5 innings. Uthappa, who is now the 2nd highest scorer in this IPL behind Glenn Maxwell, credited this success to the ‘confidence and understanding’ between him and Gambhir.
“The confidence is good for both of us. Gautam and I understand each other very well. We play to our plan and we complement each other well. We run very well in between the wickets. We egg each other on. We don’t really think about pressure. We just think of going out there and doing our job,” Uthappa said after the 8-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday.
Uthappa, hailing from Bangalore, had a great domestic season with Karnataka, who completed a historic treble this season, winning Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy this year. In fact, Uthappa was the highest scorer in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the domestic 50-over competition, scoring 536 runs at an average of 76.57 and a healthy strike rate of 89.33.
Having played the first few matches for KKR lower down the order, the turnaround came for Uthappa when he was promoted to the top of the order, where he achieved all his success in domestic cricket this season. After the match against CSK, Uthappa talked about the importance of keeping the technique right in his batting.
"If I can hold good shapes and get behind the line of the ball and just look to put into gaps, I will have great chances of putting the team on course for a good score. The important thing is to get the team to a good start in T20 format”.
Further elaborating on "holding good shapes”, he stated, “In T20 cricket as you want to hit the ball really hard, you tend to grab your right hand a bit, you tend to square up a little bit. I want to make sure that I stay side on as much as possible and play a little late. That’s the intent. If I can go out there and try doing that 10 times, I feel I can find the gaps at least seven times.”
Against CSK, KKR played their first match at Eden Gardens this season and Uthappa pointed out the importance of making a winning start on the home turf this season.
“We came to Kolkata after a long time in the tournament. We didn’t know what the par score would be here. We chased really well in our last game.
“We just felt it would be better to go after a score because that’s something we have done really well in the tournament. It was very important to get off to a win here. We are coming here after a long time and we wanted to give the crowd a win. It was important to get off to a good start here.”
With the opener in fine nick, it’s not a surprise that he’s enjoying his wicket-keeping too.
“I get better as I keep more. It helps in my hand-eye co-ordination with my batting as well. I’m glad I’m keeping very well. The important thing is that I’m reading Sunil (Narine) very well. I’m happy about it,” he concluded.