Kolkata Knights Riders were in a spot of bother after being put into bat first by Sunrisers Hyderabad as they lost both their openers pretty early in the match. But Robin Uthappa weathered the early storm bu scoring 68 off 39 balls to put his team back on track as Kolkata posted a formidable total of 172 runs at the end of their 20 overs. Chasing the target, Hyderabad could only 155 as the visitors lost by 17 runs. Uthappa on Saturday said he's relishing his new-found role at number three as he guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a 17-run win over Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens. "The team requires me to bat at number three. I have taken the challenge on and am willing to do it for the team. It's a very important position," Uthappa said after the game. "If you lose wickets you need someone with experience to handle that kind of the pressure and ensure you don't lose another wicket."
Sunil Narine failed to click as an opener on Saturday as he was bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for six but Uthappa backed the Windies player.
"It's just one game. It's important for us to back him (Narine), if you don't back (a player), you tend to breed insecurity. I don't think we would do that. He will repay the faith. We have no doubt about that," Uthappa said.
The Karnataka batsman, who played on the relaid Eden surface in February during the Vijay Hazare Trophy, was all praise for the wicket.
"I was a little scared as to how the wicket would turn out. The first match was a really good track to bat on. This one was slightly slower. Since we have such an all-round side, it fits right into our scheme of things," he said.
"I did not expect the wicket to change so much in such little time. Really happy to see the wicket the way it is now. I must congratulate the curator and groundsmen for doing a phenomenal job."
Uthappa said his side fell short by 15-20 runs but at the same time gave credit to Bhuvneshwar Kumar for some great death bowling.
"We were slightly less than we would like to end with. Need to respect the way Bhuvi bowled. We did the best we could. We had faith in our bowlers. At Eden, batting second is little easier and to have defended the score is commendable."
(With PTI Inputs)