Pietersen happy to leave on a high
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Kevin Pietersen, who played his last game of this IPL, said it was a great feeling to sign off with a victory and hoped his side can carry forward the momentum in the remainder of the tournament.
Under Pietersen, Royal Challengers started their IPL campaign on a fairytale note, beating defending champions Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural match of the high-profile event.
Thereafter, the Bangalore outfit lost four successive games only to return to winning ways today defeating Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets.
"Yeah I`m very happy. Came and won the first game, didn`t go quite as planned in the middle but to go back now winning the last game feels great. Hopefully, the boys will carry forward from here and use the momentum for the rest of the tournament," said Pietersen, who will return home to join the national team for the Test series against the West Indies starting next week at Lord`s.
"But in this form of the game, still there is lot of work to do. We just need to play as well as we can," he added. Asked whether his decision to start with spinners up front was a deliberate tactic, Pietersen said, "Definitely. Gayle and McCullum likes to go hard at the fast bowlers but it`s lucky for me to get a wicket on the first ball. The boys worked hard today, The young guys were brilliant, the energy was fantastic. Young Goswami played a fantastic knock."
He was also of the view that the IPL gives perfect platform to youngsters to hone their skills playing alongside the big names of international cricket.
"I absolutely love this tournament. It`s the best academy in the world, it`s unbelievable. For youngsters it`s a great opportunity to play with all the international players. No coach can teach any of the young guys anything compared to what they learn playing around all these stars. It`s a fantastic experience for me. You cannot ask for anything better," he said.
Meanwhile, Knight Riders skipper Brendon McCullum admitted the team didn`t play well.
"We didn`t play well enough. We had opportunity but we messed up and it`s pretty disappointing again," he said. Asked whether they had enough runs on the board to defend after opting to bat, he said, "No, I don`t think so but with both teams at the bottom of the table, I thought 140 was more than enough on a pretty slow wicket. We played as good as we can for a long period of time."
The Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman said his side still has the firepower to bounce back in the tournament, provided the players believe in their abilities.
"We just need to keep believing, try as hard as we can. Keep trying to come up with ways and means. We ourselves have to get out of it. We still believe we have a chance in the tournament but we got to bounce back pretty quickly and win majority of our remaining games."