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Although both the teams come into Sunday’s contest on the back of losses, the Rajasthan Royals will draw on the confidence of pulling off a thriller the last time they played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium (against the Kolkata Knight Riders). They will also take assurance from the fact that they have won six of the nine games that they have played against the Kings XI Punjab.
After training in the evening ahead of the match, RR’s Owais Shah spoke to the media at the pre-match press conference in Jaipur. He said that all the players are fit and the Royals’ will decide on the playing eleven tomorrow. “Shane Watson was not fit in the last match but at the moment as far as I am concerned and as far as we have been told everyone is fit to play. And the coaches and captain will pick (the playing eleven) from a fit squad,” he stated.
Asked about him yet to get a game in the Pepsi Indian Premier League, he said, “There are still 13 games to be played. It is still early days in the tournament. Of course it is frustrating when you are not playing, but you just have to be patient. The rule says only four overseas players are allowed (in a match). The management has decided to go with a particular set of players. We have done reasonably well. We have won two out of three games and you just have to wait your turn. I have to train hard and make sure I am ready (to play and perform) when I get the opportunity and hopefully I will get an opportunity later on in the tournament.”
Asked about their loss in the previous game, he said, “We didn’t get enough runs and full credit to Pune Warriors India who came out really positive and played really well. They deserved to win that game because they played better cricket. I wasn’t part of the playing eleven, but watching the game and with my own experience (I can say) we were possibly 15 to 20 runs short. When you are losing games there are similar patterns like losing wickets at key stages and things like that, but that is part of cricket and hopefully we can learn from that. And I guess we need to perhaps bowl a bit better. We Just have to play a bit better and we would have competed with them.”
“As far as the Rajasthan Royals are concerned we just have to regroup and get back to winning ways. We have had a wonderful start this year. We have won two of the three games we have played. We have won one home game where we played really well and I hope we can continue the form and hopefully we can do that tomorrow.”
“In a twenty20 match, 20 runs are a lot and make a lot of difference. If we can make those extra 20 runs and get a partnership going in the middle we will end up with 170. If you make that on this ground you should generally win nine times out of ten. You cannot just expect your bowlers to win you a game with 140 runs and every time you cannot get a magic spell. So yes, our batsmen have to put their hands up and get a proper score going,” he observed while reflecting on the batting.
Discussing the batting further when asked if the middle-order was a concern, Shah explained, “I wouldn’t say that it is that obvious a thing that we are losing our way after the start. I think we have had wonderful starts. I think credit must be given to Rahul Dravid who as we know is a wonderful batsman and he is just proving how good he is even in twenty20 cricket. He has been in wonderful form and I guess for me twenty20 is a game where a person who is playing well on that day just has to continue playing well. For us Rahul being a wonderful player that he is, he has been in really good form and if he just keeps continuing playing well we can all play around him and hopefully we can all try and negotiate, lose less wickets in the middle part and get bigger partnerships going. But we are trying hard and I still think we have got a good formula going at the moment; we just have to be patient. It was just one loss away from home and hopefully we can get back to winning ways tomorrow against Kings XI Punjab.”
Speaking about the opposition, Shah said, “Kings XI Punjab has a good team. They have very good players like Adman Gilchrist, Azhar Mahmood but we concentrate on our team – Rahul Dravid, Shaun Tait and people like that. We don’t know who will play tomorrow but who ever will play will play well and we will definitely come out on the winning side.”
Team not affected by two consecutive losses, insists Morgan
By IPL Staff
Kolkata 13 April 2013
The Kolkata Knight Riders started off their IPL campaign with a bang, winning against the Delhi Daredevils at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. But in the two games that followed, the Knights have barely got going. They failed to chase 145 against the Rajasthan Royals and in the next game were blown away by the Gayle storm as they suffered an eight wicket loss on Thursday.
Now they face the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, and will be hoping for a change in fortunes at their home ground. “Twenty20 is a funny game.” Eoin Morgan said as he addressed the press in Kolkata.
“We could have easily won the game in Rajasthan; we underperformed. Again it was the same thing in Bangalore; we did not score upfront to start with and then Gayle got going. The momentum is against us at the moment but tomorrow at our home ground we’ll try and produce our own skills, try and concentrate on our own things and on what we do best. Hopefully we can produce a win,” he added
Morgan also looked at thinking about the positives rather than dwelling on the back to back losses. “Sunil Narine bowled particularly well in both games, which is a huge positive because he is a huge match-winner, especially at home. It is always good to see your main players doing well, even when the team is not doing well. As it happens in winning teams, the most experienced players lead from the front and others fall in behind. Hopefully that will start tomorrow.”
On a personal front, Morgan has scored 67 runs in the three matches he has been a part of. He scored a half century against the Rajasthan Royals in the KKR run chase, but failed to take his side home. The left handed batsman was happy with his form so far in the tournament.
“Against the Rajasthan Royals, during the run chase, we were looking for boundaries all the time. It so happened that we lost wickets continuously which was very disappointing. On another day, the ball might clear the rope, or bounce for four runs. But, of course, we have to be better tomorrow. I feel I am in form; I have been striking the ball well.”
When asked if there was the threat of Dale Steyn looming large in the dressing room, Morgan said, “He is bowling particularly well at the moment. But I don’t see the pitch suiting him here; I do not think he played here last year. I will be surprised if he plays tomorrow.”