Kolkata: With his side failing to chase a modest 135 to win, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir warned of making drastic changes to the side if the seniors fail to perform again. Having opted to bowl, Kolkata rode on a superb 5 for 19 by Sunil Narine to restrict Kings XI Punjab to 134 for nine on Sunday, but lost the match by two runs at Eden Gardens.
"How can I say in a press conference that I am happy with their form? I've some experienced players and they need to take up responsibility. Otherwise there will be the need to take some strong and drastic decisions," an angry Gambhir said after his side's loss. "I am obviously pretty disappointed with the performance. The way we started in the first six overs, we should have chased it down. But it's a worrying sign if you end up losing these kind of games."
Needing 13 runs of the last two overs, the hosts could manage only 10, thanks to some brilliant death bowling by Harmeet Singh and Praveen Kumar. "We left it till the end. You need to play intelligent cricket. We should have finished it off when we needed 13 off 12. We should have played better as a batting unit," said Gambhir.
Gambhir said the loss of form by Yusuf Pathan, who is yet to fire for the team, is also a worrying sign. "He needs to deliver, to be very honest. He just can't keep playing these kind of shots. He is an important player for us. Hope he can get back to runs as soon as possible. I've [a] lot of faith in him. He is a big match player. Hopefully, he can end up winning a couple of games, which is very important for us."
Gambhir, however, was all praise for his bowlers. "The way we restricted them to 134 for nine was a nice effort. I could not have asked for more. It was a fantastic effort. I can't really say it was a poor day. We played well in patches."
Pitted against the same opposition at Mohali in their next outing, the Kolkata skipper was hopeful of a better show. "It's still a long way to go. We need to get the momentum back. Hopefully we can try and win our away game [against Kings XI Punjab on April 18] and carry the momentum to Cuttack [against Deccan Chargers on April 22]."
Meanwhile, the Eden track might not look conducive for batting, but Gambhir said it was fair enough and said Kings XI Punjab too had their win on a green top which was not ideal for the T20 format. "I've said again and again that let's not talk about wickets. The green wicket on which Punjab got their win in the previous match was not a good T20 wicket either. I feel it [the Eden pitch] was a very good wicket to bat on. Ball was coming on nicely to the bat. It [the loss] has nothing to do with the wicket."