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Prajakta Pawar in Kolkata 26 May 2014 - 07:14pm IST

Finding the right line-up helped KKR win: Bayliss

Coach lauds team’s efforts, speaks about playing confidently

The Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off a remarkable performance towards the second half of the tournament, which saw them clinch the second place in the points table at the end of the league phase of the Pepsi IPL 2014. This gives them two chances to make it to the final of the coveted trophy and reclaim the title. The Gautam Gambhir-led side turned things around for themselves with some determined performances first to qualify for the Playoffs and then a with fairytale win to seal the second place. They are now poised to take on Kings XI Punjab in the first qualifier, in their home ground, Eden Gardens.

Addressing the media ahead of the game, coach Trevor Bayliss lauded his team’s efforts. “I am very proud of the boys and the character that they showed. We spoke about for a while that we wanted to be playing well at the end of the tournament and hoped to go into the Playoffs playing well and winning the last seven games; we have achieved that.” 

The team maintained its core line-up and did not make any drastic changes while looking to turn their fortunes around. Elaborating on the way they managed the playing eleven while seeking the winning combination, he said, “We did make a few small changes. Probably the biggest change we made was with the batting order while trying to find what is our best combination. Over the course of the tournament, we have come up with our best combination, certainly one that has clicked. It is a case of finding the combination that works; it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best combination, but it is about finding the guys that are in form and doing well. And seven wins in a row I think has proved that.”
“I think we that we can still change one or two things around, which we have done in the course of those seven matches. We have tried to find the best possible combination going forward.”

Asked about their plans for the Kings XI Punjab line-up, he said that he wouldn’t want to give away anything as of now. But he did say, “We are going to have to be on our A game. They are a good team, a very good batting team and they could easily turn that around so we have to stay focused and concentrate on what we are doing.”

Asked if Virender Sehwag poses the same kind of threat that he did earlier, the KKR coach observed, “He is still a very dangerous player. Most players, as they get older, their consistency falls a little bit but that doesn’t mean that they can’t score in the same manner that they did before. I think he has betted very well on occasions during this IPL. He has some big scores. We are certainly not taking him lightly, he is a class player and very destructive batsman and one that we will have to get out very early.”

Knight Riders’ winning streak has also coincided with Robin Uthappa’s return to the opener's slot. Speaking about the batsman’s contribution, Bayliss said, “Robin has been fantastic for us since he has gone to the top of the order. We had role for him in the middle order in first half of the season. That obviously from his point of view and ours didn’t quite work. You live and learn as you go on. He has been fantastic since he came to the top of the order. His performance at the top of the order has mirrored our good run.”

Asked about the areas that the team needs to work on in the last leg of the tournament, he said, “I thought that our bowling in the last match was a little bit off early on, so I would like to see that improve. I can’t say too much about what we need to do because I think we have played some very good cricket. In the second and third last matches, I thought we were very good while batting, bowling and fielding. We are at the top of the game and we are confident going into Qualifier 1, which is a good thing.”

Speaking about the team’s momentum, he said that the team has peaked at the right time. And added that it is very similar to when they had won the trophy two years ago. But while speaking about the high that the team are on he was cautious to mention that, “To give yourself a chance you need to win the qualifier and then to give yourself chance in that you need to play good, confident cricket and I feel that’s where we are at. But that doesn’t guarantee anything; we are up against three very good teams.”

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