Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Manish Pandey lamented that his side couldn't post at least 200 runs despite a rousing start given by their top-order batsmen against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
"With the way we started, we probably should have got 200. At least myself, Gautibhai (Gautam Gambhir) or Russell should have stayed till the end," said Pandey, who scored an impressive 52 off 29 balls. "In the middle overs we were thinking 200, that's what we were discussing. After I got out, Russell had a decent partnership with the captain. There was a stage when there were new batsmen at both ends. It's not easy for any team to have two new batsmen at the crease and go for it. That's what we lacked a bit," he said.
Kolkata Knight Riders were cruising at 163/2 after 17 overs with half centuries from skipper Gambhir (64 from 52 balls) and Pandey (52 from 29 balls) while Russell had a cameo of 17-ball 36. But Mumbai Indians pulled back with KKR losing the wickets of Russell, Gambhir and Colin Munro in the last three overs to restrict them to 187/5, a target which the visitors reached in 19.1 overs, with captain Rohit Sharma scoring an unbeaten 84 from 54 balls.
"Batting first, you don't know exactly how many runs you need. On any given day, if you score 180-plus batting first you normally think you would win the game. For any team, it's a good total," Pandey said. "The wicket became a little better and it gave a little bit of advantage. I think that's what Mumbai capitalised on. Now we lost the game we might think we're 20 runs short. Overall it's a good effort by our team."
"We were banking on our bowlers as we have a good spin attack and some decent fast bowling. But on odd days, you just end up losing such games. You've to learn from this and we would do better," he added.
Pandey added that the team rested ace spinner Sunil Narine as he had joined the team just the night before the match. "He just came last night, it was a long flight for him. It was good for us to give him a bit of a rest. I thought he was not ready because he was travelling," Pandey said.
Pandey's knock was further proof of his new-found confidence, following his knock against Australia in Sydney earlier this year, where he had scored an unbeaten 104 off 81 balls, his maiden international century in his only fourth ODI. "I think what I realised in the last couple of months was that staying on at the wicket will give me runs. I can't just go nuts from the first ball. What I'm trying to do now is look to take a little bit of time, assess the wicket and see what's happening," the 26-year-old said.
He said KKR head coach Jacques Kallis had given him the same advice prior to the match. "That's what Jacques Kallis was telling me the other day: 'Even if you have just 10 runs in 10 balls that's fine, don't worry, because once you get to know the wicket a little more,
you have your shots and you can play all around'. That's what I was doing and I'll try and stick to this game plan to be consistent. He does not talk much and likes to give one-on-ones. This may take my cricket a step ahead."
Asked about the Eden wicket, he said, "We got 100 in 12 overs. The wicket is playing fairly good. Eden Gardens has always been a decent wicket to bat on and it's no different this time."