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With four points from six matches, Kolkata Knight Riders are among the teams fighting at the bottom of the Pepsi IPL 2014 table. Having lost their first match of the India leg, to Chennai Super Kings, KKR are running out of time in the race for the top four. As they prepare to take on Rajasthan Royals in their seventh league match, KKR coach Trevor Bayliss singled out the inconsistency in the batting department as a major reason for their plight.
“I’d have to say that our batting has been our problem and the lack of runs has been a concern for us,” Bayliss said. “Our bowling has been pretty good, although I thought in the last game our bowling was a bit short of the mark as well. But overall, we could do with a few more runs, that’s for sure.”
The main reason for KKR’s batting failure is the poor form of their two best batsmen – Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir. The batsmen that once formed KKR’s rock solid opening pair are now grappling for runs. Keeping that in mind, Robin Uthappa was sent to open the innings with Gambhir in the last match and he scored a 38-ball 47. Bayliss said that they will stick with the new plan as of now.
“We started off this IPL season with a plan in place that Jacques Kallis will open the batting with Gautam,” he said. “Robin was given the role of batting in the middle order and getting us home. But the top order, and especially the opening pair, has been our weakness and we decided to promote Robin up the order in the last game as he has a lot of experience of opening the batting. He performed quite well, and at this stage, he will stay there.”
KKR have a distinct history of playing their best cricket at home, in the Eden Gardens, and a game there at this stage in familiar conditions could go a long way in helping them regain their mojo. However, it is not until their 10th game that the Kolkata-based franchise will play their first game at the Eden.
While admitting it is a disadvantage, Bayliss said that they have to live with it. “We play four of our last five matches at the Eden Gardens. It would have been nice to get there early and play in the comfort of the home ground,” he said. “But that’s just the luck of the draw and we’ve got to take that on the chin. We have played some good cricket this year and got beaten and we have played some bad cricket and got beaten. All we can do is to have more of the good cricket in the coming matches.”
The road to resurgence is tough for KKR, but the coach isn’t giving up just yet. “If we can string some good victories in a row, we still have a fair chance of going further in the tournament.”
The Chennai Super Kings will be eyeing a sixth consecutive win over the Delhi Daredevils when the two teams clash in Match 26 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
CSK are perched at the top of the table with five wins from six outings. DD, meanwhile, have blown hot and cold and have two wins from six matches. In their previous match – their first outing at home this season – they were defeated by the Rajasthan Royals.
Monday, May 5, 2014, 8 pm IST
Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi
Delhi Daredevils have a loaded batting line-up. But the two men who look in good touch and are capable of forcing the issue are Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy. Duminy is the team’s top run-getter with 212 runs from six outings, while de Kock has made runs in each of his three matches.
CSK too have plenty of power in their batting line-up. The men who have done most of the damage are the two openers – Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum. The pair has contributed 56 percent of the runs scored by their team this season. Both batsmen have taken it upon themselves to win matches for their franchise. Either Smith or McCullum has finished as CSK’s top-scorer in five of CSK’s six matches so far this season.
Notes from Previous Match
Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals: Coach Gary Kirsten would have made note of the fact that DD did not get too many runs in the middle overs. Despite having stroke-makers like Quinton de Kock, Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik and JP Duminy, DD only managed to add only 48 runs in the middle period.
Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders: Two things stood out during CSK’s win against KKR. CSK were simply brilliant on the field; despite posting a modest 148 on the board, the way their fielders saved runs on the field – some estimates say CSK saved 14 runs that day – meant their opponents had to score more than they actually needed to. The other big positive to emerge from the match was the performance of the two spinners. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja strangled the KKR batsmen, conceding only 33 runs in eight overs and picking up five wickets between them.
No team has defeated the Delhi Daredevils more often than the Chennai Super Kings. The two teams have so far met on 13 occasions, and CSK have a 9-4 win-loss record against DD.
Chennai Super Kings have won 4 of their previous 5 IPL matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla. The home team, Delhi Daredevils, has won only 14 of their 35 matches at the venue.
The Delhi Daredevils are the only team whose captain has not won a coin toss this season.
Delhi Daredevils will play their third consecutive home match when they host the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 7. The Chennai Super Kings too will take the field the same day when they clash with Kings XI Punjab at Cuttack.