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There was a cloud cover over the Eden Gardens on Friday, just a day before the big clash between defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders and last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings. There was a possibility of some rain according to the locals here, but that did not dampen the hopes of the Knight Riders who were seen practicing hard at the nets.
The Knights are back at their den after a four run loss against Kings XI Punjab that left the side gutted. Coach Trevor Bayliss said, “I think the boys in the dressing room after the game were hurt. They realised that they had left one slip away. It was good to see the hurt on their faces because you could see it meant that much to them. They were embarrassed by the way they let that game slip. But, I don’t think there will be a problem in the effort they put in the game tomorrow.”
Their opponents, Chennai Super Kings though, are coming off a comprehensive victory against the Delhi Daredevils and there will be no doubts that the men in yellow will be upbeat even though they are playing KKR at home.
Bayliss felt, it could be a tight contest against CSK. “The games we played against CSK last year were all nail biting finishes and we look forward to a similar contest tomorrow as well.”
Spin has been the Knight Riders’ strength this competition as Sunil Narine has proved to be their most lethal weapon in the bowling attack. Add a Sachithra Senanayake to it and you can have the deadliest spin combination in the competition. When asked if there will be any change in the strategy against CSK who play spin well, Bayliss said “We just concentrate on what we do well. Our strength is spin bowling and we do not think of changing it too much according to the opposition. It is something that we have spoken about and we do have some options in terms of deciding the combinations we might play whether it is this game or for the future games.”
KKR have been highly dependent on their top four of the batting line up to get runs on the board, and batting has been an area of concern for them. The coach was of the view that it was time for the lower order to making meaningful contributions as well. “The batting has been a bit of a problem. In twenty over games sometimes, players do not get much of an opportunity to bat in the middle and it is tough to get in touch when you are not there for all that long. Last year we got a lot of runs at the top of the order and to be honest we need a lot of runs from the bottom three or four. They need to come up with those crucial fifteens, twenties and thirties in short space of time in the end which will get us to a good score. Once they start hitting the ball in the middle, am sure their form will come.”
Talking about form, there has been concerns over Yusuf Pathan’s form as well. Pathan has just scored 61 in the five games so far, but Bayliss was in full support for his match winner. “We are looking at Yusuf and trying to work with him to find the best way for him to score runs. We might use him in a different fashion in the next game or two. We know he is a match winner when he comes off and hopefully it is not long before he scores well for us. I have been watching him bat in the nets and I feel he is striking the ball a lot better than last year.”
Will there be a few changes in the next game? Will we see Brendon McCullum back in the squad? “I cannot say he will not play, but there might be a chance that he will play. It is a fifty-fifty chance. There is a possibility that there might be changes. We will get together tomorrow before the game and work out the combinations that we are looking for and then make changes if need be,” answered Bayliss.
Match 25 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will see the Sunrisers Hyderabad clash with Kings XI Punjab.
The Sunrisers are sitting third in the standings with four wins from six matches which includes a superlative effort in their previous match when they defended 119 to win by 11 runs. Kings XI Punjab have won two of their four matches this season and come into this match at the back of a thrilling four run victory against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
Friday, April 19, 2013, 8 p.m
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
This is one of those rare matches where the bowlers will be in the limelight more than the batsmen; four of the top ten wicket-takers this season will feature in this match.
Dale Steyn (SRH) and Praveen Kumar (KXIP) have been sensational so far this season; both players have not only kept the runs down (both players have economy rates of under six) but have picked up wickets too. Ishant Sharma, Azhar Mahmood, Parvinder Awana, Azhar Mahmood and Manpreet Gony are fine support characters who have picked up crucial wickets too. Then there is the battle between the two leg-spinners – SRH’s Amit Mishra and KXIP’s Piyush Chawla – which promises to be a riveting contest.
The performance of the Aussie batsmen will have a significant influence on which way the match will sway. SRH need Cameron White to fire while KXIP will hope for significant contributions from their skipper Adam Gilchrist and David Hussey.
This is the first time these two teams are meeting in the IPL. In their ten matches against the erstwhile Hyderabad franchise – Deccan Chargers – Kings XI Punjab ended up triumphant on seven occasions.
Kings XI Punjab have scored the fewest sixes (7) and conceded the fewest sixes (6) of all the teams in the tournament so far.
Sunrisers Hyderabad enjoy a brief break before they make the trip to Chennai to take on the Chennai Super Kings on April 25. Kings XI Punjab meanwhile head back home to next host Pune Warriors India on April 21.