Bangalore: He defied the law of averages with10 consecutive 40-plus scores to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to their second IPL title and batsman Robin Uthappa says the feeling for him is surreal right now given that the team was not exactly a favourite to lift the trophy.
Uthappa's form played a crucial role as KKR lifted themselves from nearly the bottom of the points table to make the final where they defeated the season's most consistent team -- Kings XI Punjab – on Sunday. With his 660 runs at an average of 44 and a strike-rate of 137.78, Uthappa went past the more talked about Glenn Maxwell and Dwayne Smith to end up with the Orange Cap.
"This is absolutely stunning! The whole feeling is just so surreal. For me, personally, this is the fourth cup in a year and so, wow! It doesn't get better than this, does it? This has been such an amazing ride," Uthappa told the IPL's official website.
"We didn't start off well, but there was always the belief that we can get our campaign back on track if we just take it one game at a time, and that is exactly what we did. Even in the final, we knew that on this ground we can chase down any score. We only had to keep up with the run-rate and keep ourselves in the game. Literally, everybody chipped in," he said.
Uthappa said winning the IPL was one of targets he had set for himself this year. "I have set some goals for myself -- a to-do list. But this year has been something else. The Ranji Trophy, the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the Irani Trophy and now the IPL, all in one year! I never thought I'll be able to do that. It's amazing. This is a tick in another box," he said.
Talking about his magnificent contribution to the team's cause, Uthappa said it was good to play a crucial role. "I was very keen on making a meaningful contribution to the team's cause and I am really happy to be able to do that, and many times, also carrying the team through from difficult situations. "To keep pulling off the scores after the sixth or seventh one there was a bit of pressure. I kept reminding myself to forget about the past scores, just stay in the present, and play the ball on its merit. It all fell into place, and here we are," he said.
The wicketkeeper-batsman said he revelled in his role of an opener. "Well, opening the batting is my bread and butter; that's what I do for a living. It was great that the management showed faith in me and I am glad I lived up to their expectations. I am glad I lived up to my own expectations," he said.
Talking about his equation with KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir, Uthappa said batting with him helped his own form. "Gauti and I have always batted well opening the batting together. We've done that for India and have also played a lot of domestic cricket together, for India A. The understanding and the camaraderie between us is really good. "We really egg each other on while batting, which is the most important thing when two batsmen are setting up a foundation for the team. Also, it's very good to bat with a left-hander as that combination will always make things difficult for the opposition," he signed off....