Sharjah, October 14: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) chief mentor David Hussey lavished praise on opener Venkatesh Iyer and even went on to compare him with former New Zealand skipper and current Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming after the team's win in the IPL 2021 Qualifier I2.
Needing 136 runs to win, KKR were off to a brisk start, courtesy Iyer and Shubman Gill. The duo cashed in on all the scoring opportunities and took KKR to 51/0 in the first six overs before Rahul Tripathi sealed the win with a six in the last over.
"We have found a player in Venkatesh Iyer. Not only he is a classy player but also a wonderful person. He struck the ball superbly from ball one. Some of those big sixes he hit actually changed the tempo of the game and got us into a winning position," said Hussey.
"Our openers complement each other very well. He's just a class player at the top. He is tall, a Stephen Fleming clone, I believe. He's got a big future in the game," he added.
Andre Russell has been missing games for KKR in the last few weeks but Hussey said everyone is available for the selection for IPL 2021 final against CSK on Friday.
"I think Russell will be in the mix. We have to discuss this with the medical staff first. He has been doing all the practices. He is definitely in the mix," said Hussey.
"Yes of course he (Shakib Al Hasan) is available. He is a fine player he has probably won us two games. Everyone is going to be available for selection and it is going to be a tough call for the head coach," he added.
Hussey feels dew will play an important role in the summit clash and KKR need to execute the plans perfectly.
"Dew is going to play an important part in the final. I am hoping groundsmen spray the ground beforehand so that both teams get a fair chance. Its gonna be a huge issue during the toss (bowl first or bat first)," said Hussey.
"But if we plan well or execute well hopefully we will get on top. We have a great record to go into the final. It's going to be a great contest playing against CSK in the final," he signed off.
After registering a win in Qualifier 2 against Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Eoin Morgan said his side should have won the match quite easily looking at the start they got.
Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill played knocks of 55 and 46 respectively to follow up Varun Chakravarthy's two-wicket haul as KKR defeated Delhi Capitals by three wickets here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
"It should've been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky and Gill set us the platform. Dew came in and all, but hey, we're in the final and we're delighted to get over the line. Would've loved to win convincingly but Delhi Capitals are a very good side.
Six off two, the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us," Morgan told host broadcaster Star Sports at the post-match presentation.
"It's a nice insight into our team culture - the young guys coming in feel free to express themselves. The backroom staff has created an environment for them to do this. With the squad we have, there's expectation. Hopefully, we can implement all that we've strategised.
Venky Iyer's idea [his elevation] came from the coach, my god, he's a terrific player. Made the chase easy, looks like he was batting on a different wicket. We would like to keep going, playing against CSK, one of the best franchises in IPL history. Anything can happen," he added.