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Kolkata Knight Riders coach says his team’s batting has let them down
By IPL Staff
Mohali 17 April 2012
Kolkata Knight Riders are still reeling from their capitulation against Kings XI Punjaba few nights ago at the Eden Gardens. In that game KKR failed to chase down a target of 135 despite having eight wickets in hand after 10 overs. Coach Trevor Bayliss, therefore, admitted to being concerned with the form of his batting unit ahead of KKR’s second clash with KXIP in IPL 2012 on April 18 at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. Excerpts from Bayliss’ media interaction:
On KKR not being able to afford a loss in their next few outings:
We would have liked to have won our last game. It was a close game. This year’s going to be a lot closer competition than last year. There are a few teams that have strengthened up from last year. It will be interesting to see where it finishes up at the end of the 16 rounds. On whether he is happy with any team being able to beat any other team:
I’m all for the paying public to watch some close games, not knowing which team is going to win until the last ball. It’s fantastic for the game.
On whether he is concerned by the form of his batsmen:
I’d have to say yes. We’ve got some quality players. We’ve won two out of [last] three matches and we’ve not batted anywhere near our best. The Bangalore match was our best with the bat. If we can bat more like with the bat, we are going to be difficult to beat.
On whether he is happy with the bowling:
Yes, our bowling has done well for us in the five matches. It has been the batting that has let us down. [I am] very happy with all the bowlers – [Lakshmipathy] Balaji, [Sunil] Narine, [Brett] Lee, [Jacques] Kallis has done the job as well. Shakib [Al Hasan] had a good game two games ago. [Rajat] Bhatia keeps it nice and tight. [I am] very happy with the bowling. On why KKR have lost close matches:
That’s the game of T20. You have to take it on the chin. Some you are going to lose, some you are not. It’s always a little harder to win the close ones when you are not quite on the top of your game. We’re working towards achieving a consistency of good play, which I’m sure every team is striving to do. It’s a case of when you do reach that point, you try and keep it. On whether there will be any change in the side:
I haven’t seen the wicket out here. But watching the last game here on television, it’s a different wicket from what we get in Kolkata. We haven’t selected the team yet. We’ll sit tonight or probably early tomorrow morning and discuss that. But there is the possibility of some changes. I’m not saying where that might be, but we’ve got to sit down and discuss that. On what he is doing as a coach to get the team going:
It’s a case of speaking to them and letting them know that they are good players, that they have our support. If they are doing the right things off the field, it’s just a matter of time, matter of concentration that they will come good. These guys are experienced; they know well enough that it could turn around very quickly.
On whether Yusuf Pathan will be dropped or persisted with:
He’s a match-winner. He can turn a match in a blink of an eye. We are showing confidence in him. He’s got the full support of everyone in the team. Everyone knows what a devastating player he can be. It’s only a matter of time before he wins us that game.
KXIP have a 50 percent record so far this season, having won two of their four matches. They will want to make the most of the familiarity that comes with playing at home.
Kolkata Knight Riders – a very formidable unit on paper – haven’t quite put on the show that was expected from them. They’ve only won two games out of five so far, and they’ll be keen to settle scores with KXIP after losing the home fixture. When
Wednesday, April 18, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
KXIP skipper Adam Gilchrist has so far had a silent tournament by his standards. The Australian, who is also the coach, wicketkeeper and opening batsman of his team, needs to start firing at the top of the order. The southpaw has so far managed 59 runs in four innings; and him not contributing is certainly hurting his team.
KXIP’s decision to promote David Hussey up the order in the previous match was a welcome move; the Australian is the top run-getter in Twenty20 cricket and has the temperament to adjust to varying situations.
Also look out for Azhar Mahmood who has joined the KXIP squad. The Pakistan cricketer is among the more experienced cricketers in this format, and he could add value to the team – thanks to his powerful hitting skills and for his skiddy medium pace bowling on what is likely to be a seamer-friendly surface.
Gautam Gambhir was very critical of his team’s middle order after they failed to chase down 135 in the previous match. “I'm not happy with the form of the middle order. There are some experienced players who need to start taking responsibility. Otherwise strong decisions need to be taken,” the KKR skipper had said after that defeat.
The biggest disappointment for KKR has been the form of their biggest match-winner, Yusuf Pathan. The elder Pathan – who is capable of winning matches single-handedly – has looked far from the explosive batsmen he’s known to be and has only managed 23 runs in five innings (at a dismal strike-rate of 74.19). Despite his reputation, Yusuf finds himself in the perform-or-perish zone, and this could be his last opportunity. He is likely to come out firing all cylinders.
Sunil Narine has come to be known as somewhat of a mystery bowler. The Trinidadian, who picked up five wickets in the previous match, has been very difficult to pick. He is mixing the various kinds of deliveries in his armory, and has left many batsmen bewildered. It will be interesting to see if the KXIP batsmen have done their homework, and if they manage to pick him this time round. Previous Meetings
There’s very little to choose between the teams on the basis of their previous meetings. Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders have so far met on eight occasions, and both teams have won four contests apiece. Even in their meetings at Mohali, there’s nothing that separates them – KXIP won their home fixture in the inaugural season, while KKR came up trumps in their meeting in the 2010 season. Trivia
KXIP’s David Hussey is the most-capped Twenty20 cricketer in the world; he has appeared in 175 Twenty20 matches.
KXIP's Azhar Mahmood has 16 Man of the Match awards in Twenty20 cricket. Only Brad Hodge - with 18 awards - has won more
Kings XI Punjab will play their second home game in 48 hours when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 20. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders will be out of action for the rest of the week and will next be seen in action on April 22 when they take on the Deccan Chargers in Cuttack.