Inconsistent top order a concern: Bayliss

KKR coach hopes Uthappa’s promotion as opener will change things

Ahmedabad 05 May 2014
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.”
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