IPL

Morgan delighted with Knight Riders freedom after securing IPL final berth

By Sports Desk October 13, 2021

Eoin Morgan hailed the pressure-free environment Kolkata Knight Riders have created after his side sneaked past Delhi Capitals to reach the Indian Premier League final.

The Knight Riders limited Rishabh Pant's side to 135-5 and seemed certain for victory after a 96-opening run stand from Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer.

However, a flurry of late wickets left Kolkata requiring seven to win off Ravichandran Ashwin's final over to secure their final berth and maintain their perfect chasing record since the United Arab Emirates-based resumption.

Rahul Tripathi stood up to the task, blasting Ashwin's fourth ball for six after the off-spinner had removed Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 130-7.

And Morgan cited Wednesday's qualifier clash as an example of the freedom of expression that the Knight Riders' culture has created.

"It should've been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky [Venkatesh Iyer] and [Shubman] Gill set us the platform," Morgan said at the post-match presentations.

"But we're in the final and we're delighted to get over the line. Six off two [in the final over], the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us.

"It's a nice insight into our team culture. The young guys coming in are feeling free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this."

Iyer was bumped up the order after the coronavirus-enforced delay and the two-time IPL champions have since won seven out of nine matches – winning four games in a row for the first time since the 2018 edition of the tournament.

However, Morgan refused to take credit for the top-order alteration as Iyer continues to thrive, blasting 320 runs in the competition across nine matches at an average of 40.

"The Iyer idea [his elevation] came from the coach, he's a terrific player," England and KKR's captain continued. "He made the chase easy, it looked like he was batting on a different wicket.

"With the squad we have, there's expectation. We would like to keep going and we are playing against Chennai Super Kings – one of the best franchises in IPL history – but anything can happen."

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