New Delhi, April 21: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir has described Yusuf Pathan as the biggest game-changer of the team and predicted that the all-rounder would come up with a special performance very soon in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 8).
After restricting Delhi Daredevils to 146 for eight, KKR rode on a 65-run fourth wicket stand between Gambhir (60) and Yusuf (40 not out) to canter home in 18.1 overs.
"I have always had a lot of faith in him (Pathan). Faith and trust is one thing that does not go very quickly. So I always feel he is the game-changer for us and the way he has batted in this tournament till now, I think he is just going to be our biggest game-changer.
"I know people talk about Sunil (Narine), people talk about other guys as well but I think Yusuf is someone who is going to do something special for us very soon," Gambhir said after his team's six-wicket win here last night.
Gambhir led from the front with a 49-ball knock that was laced with eight boundaries, but the left-handed opener still rued the fact that he did not stay till the end.
'Happy with the result'
"As a captain you want to finish games so you can ask people to finish games. I always believed that a captain leads from the front and if you can finish games yourself, then you can expect people to do the same. May be somewhere down the line I need to be a little careful because I am someone who can tell players to do something only if I can do it myself.
"So obviously little disappointed from the professional point of view. But happy with the result," Gambhir said.
"It was important to hold one end with the kind of total we had. If an opener plays till the 17th or the 18th over then we knew it is going to be easy because they had two leg-spinners. May be it was just my day. We wanted Manish (Pandey) to play his natural game, so it was important for me to go out there and bat as long as I could," he added.
Before the batsmen did their job in a clinical fashion, it was the KKR bowlers who set it up for them. Man of the match Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel and Piyush Chawla bagged two wickets each to restrict the Daredevils to a modest score. Gambhir heaped praise on his bowlers but also expressed surprise at the ease with which his team won the match.
'KKR is my home team'
"With the kind of batting line-up they had we thought it was going to be a difficult game because Delhi is a quality side with players like Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews. But a lot of credit goes to our bowlers.
"When I had a look at the wicket first I didn't know how it was going to behave. But I think, restricting them to 146 was a fantastic effort," he said.
A Delhi veteran in Ranji Trophy cricket, Gambhir said he is proud to wear the KKR jersey and Kolkata is his home ground for the course of the IPL.
"For two months my home ground is Kolkata and my home team is KKR. When I play in Delhi (for KKR), I play here like in any other venue. I have said this before that whichever team you play for becomes your home team and Kolkata is my home ground in IPL. It's not easy to beat any team and I am very happy with the performance," he said.