Chennai: When the season five of IPL started, no one ever gave Kolkata Knight Riders a chance to lay a hand on the coveted trophy, but the team proved all detractors wrong by beating the defending champions. After some initial hiccups earlier on, Kolkata got their act together to see through to the final that eventually ended on a sweet note.
After their maiden final success, a jubilant Kolkata Knight Riders captain, Gautam Gambhir on Sunday said that his team has accomplished a mission which they undertook 54 days ago.
"There is only one word that comes to my mind. Mission accomplished. We had strong belief in our team. We knew when the big day will come the guys would deliver. I want to thank our fans back in Kolkata, who had stood by the team during tough situations. We have done it for them," Gambhir said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
On Manvinder Bisla's match-winning innings, Gambhir said, "Bisla today showed that what character is all about. I have always maintained that a captain is as good as his team. It's a successful team that makes a successful captain. When I selected Bisla, I knew that we had quality in our dressing room."
In the moment of glory, the skipper didn’t forget to have a word of praise for his strike bowler, L Balaji, who missed out in the final due to an injury.
"Bala has been the unsung hero of our team. One can't forget his contribution. When we left for the stadium, I told him that we wanted to do it for him."
Man-of-the-Match Bisla, who replaced Brendon McCullum in this big final said: "I am feeling very happy that I played my part. I replaced Brendon who is a class player. His record speaks for himself. Due to Balaji's injury, we had to leave him out, I am lucky that I got a chance. Till the last ball, it did not feel like we had made it. I don't think I have hit as well, good to play this in the finals to help win it for my team."
However, Bisla was modest on his knock and had no specific plans when he walked out to the middle after Gambhir’s dismissal.
"There was no plan, wanted to go out there to enjoy, after Gambhir got out, I felt a tad tensed but after getting one or two to the fence, I got the confidence. Kallis is a legend, batting along side him was a great opportunity, he asked me to keep it simple and get going."
On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was of the opinion that the wicket played better in the second innings. "I thought the ball started coming on slightly better in the second half. Bisla and Kallis got the partnerships KKR needed."
The Chennai skipper, however praised his team’s performance especially the batsmen and felt the bowlers were not hitting the right length.
"Cricket is a game of plus ten and minus ten. It is always like that. Under the conditions, we batted well. It was a bit slower in the first innings. Batsmen did a good job. Not to forget, we could have looked for 200 and ended up with 170. Our bowlers were not getting reverse swing. Then it becomes easy for the fast bowlers to execute the wide yorkers. Still, I am happy with our performance," Dhoni said.