Knight Riders head coach also heaped praised on Morgan’s captaincy despite his disappointing returns with the bat
“Look, Andre, he obviously had a hamstring tear earlier on in the competition. He worked unbelievably hard to try and get himself available. There was still a risk there, and it was a risk that I felt in a final, we just couldn’t afford to take,” McCullum said at the post-match press conference.
“Such is the nature of hamstrings, you’re just never really sure whether they’re going to be fully healed or not. It was just such a big risk. Look, in the end, we decided to go for the guys who had done so well for us to get us into the final. I’m really proud of all their achievements. It’s a shame we fell short, but we were outplayed by a very good CSK side today.”
“It’s a really unique situation, isn’t it? He was captaining out of his skin. He’s captained as well as what I’ve ever seen him captain, as well as I’ve seen anyone really captain in a T20 competition,” McCullum said of Morgan. “I thought he was driving the team forward with his captaincy. Unfortunately, the runs weren’t there for him, no matter how hard he tried. We tried to put him in that position where he’s been so successful, in those last five overs in T20 cricket right throughout his career. But unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
“You know, there’s many examples over the years of guys who have struggled for form leading into big games who have then been able to find something in that situation to be able to get a performance. That was what I was clinging on to tonight, with both the captain and also the vice-captain [Dinesh Karthik, who had 100 runs in eight innings in UAE ]. But it wasn’t to be. Those guys, they played their hearts out, they did their absolute best, and they just weren’t quite able to get the performances they would have liked. In the end, I’m still really proud of everyone who bought into the vision that we had for the group, invested in what we’re trying to achieve, and ultimately, took us on this journey which allowed us to have some great memories, but just fell short.”
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo