Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum revealed that explosive all-rounder Andre Russell hadn’t fully recovered from his hamstring tear, and the side couldn’t afford to risk his involvement with the T20 World Cup coming up.
Both Chennai and Kolkata made no changes to the playing XI that won their previous match. It was believed that Russell would be fit in time for the final and could play, but McCullum stated that it was a risk they couldn’t afford to take.
“Yeah, look, Andre obviously had a hamstring tear early on in the competition. He worked unbelievably hard to try and get himself available. He was still at risk there. And I felt (if) it was a risk in a final, we just couldn’t afford to take.”
“And then we had another hamstring issue with Rahul Tripathi so, look, such is the nature of hamstrings that you are just never sure whether they are going to be fully healed or not, and it’s such a big risk.
“In the end, we decided to go for the guys who had done so well to get us into the final, and I am proud of all their achievements. It’s a shame we fell short, but we were outplayed by a very good CSK side today,” McCullum said.
Eoin Morgan was captaining out of his skin – Brendon McCullum
McCullum further stated that the skipper, Eoin Morgan, did his best to lead the side and was amazing throughout the tournament as the captain. His diminishing returns with the bat were a bit of concern and quite unfortunate, but that doesn’t take anything away from the way he led the team.
“Yeah, look, it’s a really unique situation, wasn’t it? He was really captaining out of his skin. He captained as well as I have ever seen him captain and as well as I have seen anyone really captain in a T20 competition. I thought he was driving the team forward with his captaincy, but unfortunately, the runs weren’t there for him.“
“No matter how hard he tried, we tried to put him in that position where he’s been so successful – in those last five overs – in T20 cricket right throughout his career. But unfortunately, it wasn’t to be,” McCullum added in the post-match press conference.
CSK defeated KKR by 27 runs to lay claim to their fourth IPL trophy. The match was also MS Dhoni’s 300th match as the skipper in T20 cricket.
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