Praveen: Lions pleasantly surprised by Kolkata wicket

"We were surprised to see this wicket. We were expecting a rank-turner. There was a bit of juice in the wicket initially, with a bit of grass that made some difference," Praveen Kumar, who took 2 for 19 to contribute to Gujarat Lions' five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, said after the match.

Praveen Kumar dismissed Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey cheaply to have Knight Riders struggling at 24 for 4.   -  K. V. S. Giri

The Gujarat Lions bowling unit was pleasantly surprised to find a helpful track at the Eden Garden, and exploited it well to secure a comfortable victory over Kolkata Knight Riders that gave Lions the top spot in the IPL points table, according to seamer Praveen Kumar.

> Report: Karthik, bowlers hand Lions comfortable win over Knight Riders

The pitch had seam movement in the early period in the game, and Praveen Kumar made good use of it, claiming two top-order wickets that put Knight Riders under pressure. The batting team recovered, but not sufficiently enough to challenge Lions.

“We were surprised to see this wicket. We were expecting a rank-turner. There was a bit of juice in the wicket initially, with a bit of grass that made some difference. We bowled in the right areas and got early breakthroughs so it helped us. It was a double-pace wicket,” Praveen said.

Praveen took two wickets in three balls, which included the scalp of in-form Gautam Gambhir (five) as Knight Riders was tottering at 24 for 4 in 5.5 overs before Shakib Al Hasan (66 not out) and Yusuf Pathan (63 not out) staged the recovery.

'Toss doesn't matter'

He, however, disagreed that toss played a crucial factor as Gujarat Lions returned to winning ways after a hattrick of losses. “Toss does not matter much, you have to give your 100 per cent. If you play well, you will come up in the table, like Sunrisers Hyderabad did (in the previous match today).”

Giving the team the credit for having full faith on him, he said: “My team has full faith in me, Raina trusts me. Getting wickets is really not in your hands. One day you can get hit and the next day you may get four wickets and win the match in this format. You always want to do well. But this format is very unpredictable.”

Asked whether he is eyeing an India comeback like another veteran Ashish Nehra, he said, “I follow a simple principle, I just focus on my performance, work hard and win the match for your team. That’s my job. I don’t think what others saying or doing.”

Aaron Finch once again batted lower the order and Praveen said, “It’s a strategy to play him in the middle. It’s about being flexible.”

  Dugout videos