Former Indian cricketer Ajay Jadeja has pointed out where the Kolkata Knight Riders went wrong in the IPL 2021 final, which they lost to the Chennai Super Kings at Dubai. The 50-year old opined that Eoin Morgan's side didn't play according to the situation of the game, while also shedding light on how they got stuck at a point of no return.
Speaking on the post-match Cricbuzz show, Jadeja explained how the batting unit's inability to adapt to the situation brought about their downfall.
"They were not playing according to the game and according to the conditions. I think they got stuck in their own web and were unfortunate today. At times when it comes off it's brilliant, but at times you just need to keep things calm and you can't do it because all through the season you are playing in a certain style," said Jadeja.
KKR were set a target of 193 to clinch their third IPL title, and despite a blistering start from the opening pair, Morgan's men faltered in the final hurdle. Placed comfortably at 88/0 at the halfway stage, a double-wicket 11th over from Shardul Thakur turned the game on its head.
KKR crumbled from 91/0 to 125/8, with none of the middle order batsmen providing either stability or runs. Jadeja stressed on this very point, stating how the top order carried forward the out-of-form middle KKR order.
Here's what the former cricketer had to say -
"It was not Eoin Morgan alone but Kartik and Shakib, whom the top-order carried them forward. They realized it was not the numbers but the attitude and the little roles that everyone plays. I think the style they have tried to play with, it's something they have stuck too and they have great success but this is the shortcoming of that style."
"The game was there in their hands, they should've taken it deep" - Shaun Pollock on KKR's strategy
Former South African speedster Shaun Pollock also criticized the KKR batters' approach in the final, while specifically pointing at the lack of form factor which hurt the two-time champions the most.
Here's what Pollock said -
"You want go to the knockouts or finals with as many of your players in top form and that wasn't the case for them (KKR)."
Pollock shed light on how the top order delivered, but the collective failure of the middle order proved to be KKR's undoing.
In Sharjah, the top order guys showed up but the middle order guys never fired off and at some stage that's going to show up. The game was in your hands after 10 overs and 10 wickets in hand. You should have taken the game deep. Unfortunately for KKR, they weren't able to do that."
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Despite falling short in the finals, the Brendon McCullum-coached should be proud of themselves for achieving what many thought was impossible. Languishing in the second half of the IPL 2021 points table ahead of Phase 2, KKR were written away by many experts, but with 5 wins from 7 matches, Morgan's men made the playoffs, and ultimately the final.