Coach Brendon McCullum revels in Kolkata Knight Riders UAE turnaround

Coach Brendon McCullum: The head coach was full of praise for Venkatesh Iyer and the rest of the young Indians in his higher order despite losing the final.
Kolkata Knight Riders appeared dejected in the first half of the 2021 IPL. With just two wins in their first seven games. Postponing the tournament when Covid19 broke the bio-bubble gave the team a much-needed break.

The move to the UAE in the second half also made their strengths hold up a bit longer. While some personal juggling paid off with the appearance of Venkatesh Iyer.

The team had a winning streak that was only stopped. When the Chennai Super Kings proved too impressive in the final.

IPL 2021 Final, CSK vs KKR: Chennai Super Kings-Kolkata Knight Riders  Head-To-Head Record | Cricket News

But even with that 27-race loss. Knight Riders won seven of the ten games they played in the United Arab Emirates.
His resurgence was so remarkable. That MS Dhoni was moved to appreciate the efforts of his opponents. In the title fight even before speaking of the triumphant side of him.

“Before I start talking about CSK, I feel it’s important that I talk about KKR,” Dhoni told Star Sports. “The position they were in, in the first half of IPL. It is very difficult from that position to come back and do what they have really done.

If any team deserved to win this year’s IPL, I feel it was KKR. Big credit to the support staff and the players. It’s not really easy whenever the team is not doing well, it’s a very difficult task. I think the break really helped them. But a tremendous performance.”

Knight Riders coach Brendon McCullum later said. That the break between the two halves of the IPL worked well for his team. He praised the team, particularly the top tier of Iyer, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi. And Nitish Rana, for being adaptable enough to shift their focus to a more aggressive one.

“The break probably came at a really good time for us to be honest. “McCullum said at the post-match press conference. “It can be hard in a tournament such as the IPL. To be able to keep your composure when results are going against you. Where we sat after seven games, with only two wins, it was pretty disappointing. So the break came at a good time. During that time, we had some conversations right throughout the few months in between with some guys. And just tried to smooth out a couple of rough edges.”

Among bats that played at least 10 innings, Iyer’s batting rating of 41.12 was the sixth highest in the tournament.

What a story it was' - McCullum revels in Knight Riders UAE turnaround -  Eagles Vine
Venkatesh Iyer made four half-centuries for Knight Riders in the UAE leg 

“I always felt that our intent needed to increase to be able to put pressure back on the opposition. I cannot talk highly enough of our top four Indian batters in particular for what they were able to achieve in the second half of the competition. It takes guts to play the way that they did and it takes courage to change the method. And to trust the method that we as coaches were asking them to play, which was a more up-tempo game. But they were absolutely fantastic and were such a massive reason why we were a huge chance in this competition. Why we made it as well as what we had. So we’ve certainly got something to work with there, moving forward.”

Iyer‘s smart run score was 404.28, well above the number of runs he scored. While his smart hit rate was also significantly higher at 140.37.

But while the higher order of Iyer led was solid for the Knight Riders, the middle order often lacked racing. Captain Eoin Morgan made just 41 runs in nine innings in the United Arab Emirates. Vice-Captain Dinesh Karthik had 100 runs in eight innings. More than Morgan but not as many as the Knight Riders wanted.

“Yeah, I think that’s a fair assessment. ” McCullum said when asked if the majority of the team‘s problems lay with the middle order. “I think our bowling group did a really good job. We fielded well, and our top-order batting was superb. But unfortunately, we weren’t quite able to get the real impact through our middle-order players. You know there’s a lot of experience there. They’re the first ones to admit they didn’t have the greatest of tournaments.

Coach Brendon McCullum, The great left-handed hitter made an instant impression on the United Arab Emirates. Scoring 370 runs in 10 innings with a 41.11 average and a 128.47 hit rate.

IPL 2021: KKR coach Brendon McCullum says they were 'paralysed by fear' due  to COVID-19 - Firstcricket News, Firstpost

Coach Brendon McCullum was particularly pleased with the way Iyer had acted. The true value of Iyer’s runs was revealed, which takes into account a player’s situation and stamina.

That can happen at times, it wasn’t for a lack of trying, that’s for sure. The guys certainly invested, they put the work in, it just wasn’t necessarily their tournament. That was just unfortunate, that it kind of happened amongst all of the middle order. But that can happen sometimes.”

“But again, I’m just really proud of all of the guys for their efforts. And what a story it was – to go as close as we did after being under. The pump is halfway through the tournament. More positives than negatives, that’s for sure. We’ll walk away with our heads held high. I think we represented our owners. And our fans and all those who support this team as best we possibly could.”

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