Jaipur: A furious Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir on Monday blamed his batsmen for the 19-run defeat against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
"Atrocious batting," was how Gambhir described the reason for his team's defeat at the post match press conference.
"The bowlers did a fantastic job, it's a very good wicket to play on… Good bounce and fast outfield. But our batsmen could not take advantage of it," added the captain.
Gambhir rued the fact that the Knight Riders failed to achieve the target despite restricting Rajasthan Royals to 144 for six in 20 overs. "I can't really define what happened to our batting. The main reason was that many of us were out to bad shots."
Asked whether he too fell to a poorly executed shot against medium pacer Siddharth Trivedi, Gambhir said: "Yes. I should also be included in the list. I am not the person to shy away from responsibility… I should have been more careful."
Apart from Gambhir, wicketkeeper-batsman Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis should also have been more careful in choosing their shots. While Bisla tried to force the pace after being beaten by the pace, Kallis paid the price for chasing a wide delivery and was dismissed first ball.
"At the start of the season, I told my players to play fearless cricket. But that does not mean the batsmen should play careless cricket," said Gambhir. "I feel bad for losing a match in which the bowlers did so much for us."
The Knight Riders captain, however, was full of praise for Eoin Morgan who scored 51 with the help of three fours and three sixes. "That was the only positive side of our batting. He had done equally well for England in the past. I hope he continues to play in the same style for KKR."
Gambhir, however, was confident that the Knight Riders would bounce back in the next match. "We have a series of matches in the next few weeks. We should be able to learn from our mistakes."
The left-handed opening batsman once again stressed that Knight Riders was not carrying any extra pressure on their shoulders for being the defending champions. "This is a question I am facing almost every day… But let me tell you, we are enjoying the tag. It's fun to face the challenge of being the holders."
Reminded that every team in the competition will give their best to beat the Knight Riders, Gambhir laughed and said: "We are also looking forward to beat everyone."
At the presentation ceremony, Gambhir was equally harsh on the team. "We kept losing wickets at the wrong time… Whenever we needed to strike a partnership, we lost a wicket. Our bowlers had done really well to restrict them to 144, especially on a wicket where the ball was coming on to the bat quite nicely.
"You must give credit to Brett Lee and Sunil Narine for the way they bowled today. Sunil has been always fantastic for us... Today also, he put up a good performance. Brett also bowled tremendously well up front. Hopefully, they can keep on their good show in our next match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday."
He was, however, not losing heart. "We have a lot of quality in the side. There is still a long way to go in the tournament and I hope that we don't repeat these mistakes in the coming matches…
"It was a good game of cricket… The wicket had a bit of every thing for everyone. It was a good wicket to bat on. There was an even contest between the batsmen and the bowlers. Hopefully, we can get wickets like these in other matches also."