Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik blamed Nitish Rana’s ‘silly’ runout for their defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second IPL qualifier here.
Chasing 175 to win, KKR got off to an explosive start with an opening stand of 40 from 20 balls and after Sunil Narine’s fiery innings, Chris Lynn anchored the ship with Rana who was promoted to No 3.
The duo were going great guns with 87/1 before Rashid Khan triggered the collapse in the ninth over with a fine throw from deep midwicket to dismiss Rana for 22.
“Rana’s wicket changed the course of the game. If he had pushed at that stage, the game could have been ours. It was a silly dismissal and very crucial at that stage,” Karthik rued.
Next to follow was Robin Uthappa who became Rashid Khan’s first victim playing a rash reverse sweep to be out cheaply for eight.
“Robin Uthappa played a poor stroke and I think he will also admit that it was not a great shot at that stage,” Karthik said.
Kolkata went on to lose five wickets in 31 runs with Rashid striking a wicket in each of his remaining three overs to finish with match-winning figures of 3 for 19.
Rashid had earlier contributed with the bat, slamming a quick-fire 10-ball 34 to push Hyderabad to 174/7.
The Kolkata skipper, however, said their batsmen have handled the Afghanistan wily spinner reasonably well in the tournament.
“Till now we have actually played him well, during the two times that he has bowled to us, we batted well against him. The whole context of Rashid Khan is the way we approach him, you know in a very positive way, which is good,” Karthik said.
“Today, because he got a couple of wickets, he is a quality bowler, and on a day when he is bowling well and gets a couple of wickets, it is not surprising. But till now, I think to be fair to KKR, we have played him pretty decently,” he said.
Giving full credit to Rashid who also sparkled on the field, he said: “He had a brilliant day, didn’t he? He batted really well, he fielded well; he had a run out. It was a day when everything went right for Rashid Khan and credit to him.
“In these kind of games, you want one individual to come and stand-up like that, to put the pressure on the opponent and credit to him. I think he did really well today.”
The skipper credited his opposition for showing tremendous grit as they snapped a four-match losing streak here.
“You got to give credit to Hyderabad as well. They have come, they have defended a target, they have beaten us today, twice in Eden Gardens,” he said.
“They had lost four in a row, and for them to pick themselves up and come and do well today, you know hats off to them. Sometimes it is important to give credit to the opponents as well, when they do well.”
Karthik took heart from the overall showing of the team this season.
“It was a good campaign. We played as a team and have some good memories. We have found some fine young players such as Shubman Gill, Prasidh Krishna and Nitish Rana and we can look forward to them in the future.”
Taking over from Kolkata’s most successful skipper Gautam Gambhir, Karthik led by example.
“As a leader I kept the team together. I was helping each other individually. I wanted to make sure everybody tried and I try and empower people to do what they do the best,” Karthik concluded.