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They kept a tight hold on the Kings XI Punjabbatsmen but were given the charge by the lower-order, they lost their top-order early but fought back to stay in the game and just when they looked like they would scrape through to the finish line, and a mini collapse buried their chances of a win.
Although Sunil Narine finished with a hat-trick, it was veteran cricketer Jacques Kallis who was the most economical off the KKR attack as they restricted the home team to a competitive total. The all-rounder finished with three for 24 including the wickets of Mandeep Singh and Manpreet Gony. Outwitting the batsmen is the South African’s mantra to successful bowling in T20 cricket.
One of the best all-rounders to play the game, Kallis brings with him valuable experience to the team and enjoys sharing it with the youngsters. After losing a game ridden with highs and lows at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium the senior cricketer is looking forward to regroup and iron out the creases and get back to winning ways.
While speaking toiplt20.com, Kallis reflected on the match, the format and KKR. Excerpts from the interview:
On the match
It was probably one of those games where you need 52 off 42 balls, eight wickets in the hand you expect to win that nine times out of ten, so we are disappointed. It has probably been one of our weaknesses ... It is in the death in the third time that we have probably let ourselves down and so it is an area that needs to be addressed.
On bowling in twenty20 and his spells today
You got to back your skill and try and bowl to your field. And then out guess that batter… That is what the twenty20 format is about. I have been bowling well lately so hopefully I can continue that, carry on helping KKR restrict the opposition.
On the impact of claiming a wicket off the first ball and losing a wicket on the first ball
I don’t think it is too much. It is one ball of an innings, it has been interesting but like I said we just need to improve in all departments.
On whether wicket on the first ball boosts the team
It helps the team a little bit but it is a funny game, twenty20. One ball can change the game and one ball can’t change the game so there are nine other wickets to get. It does help us to get a wicket off the first ball to set the tone.
On mentoring the youngsters
You have to try and help the youngsters along and pass on your knowledge. It is something that I enjoy doing. I have been playing the game long enough to be able to gain a little bit of experience along the way so if I can help the youngsters, it gives me great pleasure. On adjustments he had to make for T20
It is about getting your mindset right whether it is Test cricket and then changing to twenty20 or the other way round. And then knowing your role and knowing your game and just enjoying whatever format you are playing (works). I really enjoy the T20 and I have worked really hard on my game to be successful at T20.
It was just about getting to know my game in T20 cricket, (and working on) few extra scoring options which I have worked on, sort of worked on six – seven years ago and just being comfortable with the format and a slight change of mindset.
On key to bowling successfully in T20
Just try to bowl to your strengths and knowing your strengths try and out guess the batter. And try and bowl to the field. Try to outwitting the batter at the other end who is trying to hit you out of the park.
On the dearth of genuine all-rounders
That is a tough one. I think it is possible because of the amount of cricket that is being played these days. It’s so much that it is hard to be an all-rounder these days. But having said that there are one or two that are coming through, especially in the spinning all-rounders department. I always keep an eye to see who the next all-rounders are coming through. There are guys like Shane Watson who have done well. He has certainly improved as a cricketer and as an all-rounder. He is sort of the one guy who is standing out at the moment.
On having maintained fitness while it is a concern for younger players
I have been fortunate that I have been pretty much injury free. I have been lucky.... I have put a lot of hard work into my fitness. I have always had this workload from day one since I started playing cricket as a youngster as an all-rounder so I guess my body is just used to it.
On what has helped KKR turning things around
We know our home conditions pretty well. We are tough to beat at home and that is one good positive. And we have been pretty good at doing the basics, we didn’t do that tonight but that is one of the things we pride ourselves in, doing our basics better than the opposition.
On the strengths of his team
We have got great spinning options, especially in our own conditions at home. And our batting is quite deep, we have got good players and good mixture of aggressive and players that knock a ball around so when we get that get right we are a tough team to beat.
On Sunil Narine and the off-spinner registering the first hat-trick in the sixth edition
He was incredible! He is a match changer. He got the ball in the right areas and then knocked over three guys in three balls which is an unbelievable effort. He is a world class bowler and I don’t think it is the last time that we will see him getting a hat-trick.
‘It is not over till it’s over in the last over’ seems to be the theme song more often than not in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013! The high voltage drama at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday evening kept the spectators on the edge of their seats as Kings XI Punjab held their nerve to pull off a win against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Although it was Kumar who got them off to a stupendous start with a wicket off the first ball with Adam Gilchrist plucking a brilliant catch out of the air and then calmly defended 11 runs in the last over, Mahmood bowled crucial overs in short bursts to keep the team in the game. Bowling from the other end, he accounted for the crucial wicket of Jacques Kallis that left the visitors reeling on one for the loss of two wickets. And the veteran all-rounder then returned to end the ‘on song’ Eoin Morgan’s innings that threatened to take the game away from the hosts, came back again to remove Debarata Das and finished with three for 21.
While speaking to iplt20.com after posting their first win at home of the season, much to the relief of the red flag bearers, a cheerful Azhar Mahmood lauded the team effort like a proud senior for pulling off a win.
Excerpts from the interview:
On the tight finish but good to get a win at home
Yes it is brilliant win. We didn’t play well enough. Our 157 was not good enough (score to have) on this pitch. But as a unit we bowled really well and we got crucial wickets at crucial times (in the match).
On the advice to Praveen Kumar who also kept his cool in the last over and what went on in the middle
It was tough for everybody. I used to bowl in the death, but Praveen hasn’t bowled in the death and I was telling him what to bowl and where to bowl because against tail-enders sometimes it is different as compared to the regular top and middle order batsmen. So you have to bowl differently so in the end we crossed the line (successfully).
The wicket of Kallis and sending back Eoin Morgan who is known to finish games
Both of them are quality players. Kallis is one of the best all-rounders in the world and Eoin Morgan, he is a finisher. I have played a lot of cricket against him so I know his strength and weakness.
I bowled in the middle when it was crucial to get a wicket so I came back and got a wicket for my team. So I am quite pleased with that after getting a duck.
On the highs and lows in the game
(Laughs) I don’t mind the ups and lows during the game if we are getting an end result like this. We are pleased and we are happy with that.
On Manpreet Gony putting up a all-round match winning performance in his first appearance for KXIP
Brilliant! He smashed the ball very well and that’s what we need in the lower-order and we were missing someone like him coming down the order and getting some quick runs so (we are) quite pleased with his performance and then he bowled really well as well. So he is a good asset for our team.
On the impact for a team to get a wicket off the first ball
Oh definitely it helps. If you want to win a game then you need to keep getting wickets and then getting a wicket on the first ball, one can’t ask for anything more.
On losing their way in the middle and areas they need to work on
There is definitely still a lot of margin for improvement. We have to bat well. We have been bowling well but we have to improve in all departments. Our fielding was very good today, but we need to bat and bowl well still.