Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum revealed why star all-rounder Andre Russell didn’t play the final of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Notably, Russell only played 10 matches in the fourteenth season of the cash-rich league, scoring 183 runs and taking 11 wickets before he injured his hamstring. The Caribbean superstar had picked up the injury while fielding in a league game against CSK.
McCullum explained that Russell tried his best to recover from the injury to be available for the summit clash, but playing him was a risk, therefore management decided not to include Russell in the playing XI.
“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 it was a risk, I felt in a final, we just couldn’t afford to take,” said McCullum at the post-match presser.
“And then we had another hamstring issue with Rahul Tripathi, so, look, such is the nature of hamstrings that he was never really 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 for us to get into the final, and I am really proud of all their achievements,” he added.
While chasing 193, KKR were comfortably placed at 91/0 at one stage, but then a sudden collapse took place and completely took the game away from the two-time champions. Shardul Thakur shifted the momentum in CSK’s favour by picking two wickets in the 11th over. From thereon, KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals only to reach 165/9 to fell short of the target by 27 runs.
McCullum said the middle order failed to capitalise on the start provided by the openers but also admitted that CSK played better cricket.
“Our top-order batting was superb, but unfortunately, we weren’t quite able to get the real impact through our middle-order players. There is a lot of experience there, and they did not have the greatest of tournaments, which can happen at times. We are super proud of what we have achieved. Obviously, tonight wasn’t ours. Champion side CSK. KKR have been very supportive as a franchise,” McCullum added further.