Russell doubtful starter for SRH game

All-rounder still not hundred per cent fit as KKR look to win in a do or die situation

Kolkata 22 May 2016
They started off well, but as has been the case in the previous years, lost steam midway into the tournament. Then there were those odd wins and close losses that has put Kolkata Knight Riders in a situation where they have to win their final game at home to renew their hopes of making it to the playoffs; this after being at the top half of the table for most of the season. However, things aren’t looking great for the Knights after losing two games on the bounce which leaves them in a must-win situation against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. It has been raining in Kolkata over the last few days and there could be chances of rain on game day as well.

The cloud of problems looms large for KKR as all-rounder Andre Russell who missed the previous game against Gujarat Lions owing to a hamstring injury, is still not hundred per cent fit before his side’s crucial fixture. “Andre is getting treatment from our physio and we are unsure about where he is at. He is probably going to miss out if he is not fit enough to play tomorrow given the nature of the injury,” assistant coach Simon Katich said, throwing light on Russell’s injury.

Katich also said Umesh Yadav was recovering well and a call on his availability would be taken on match day. Nevertheless, KKR are coming off a loss against Gujarat Lions in Kanpur and Katich wanted his side to put the loss aside and start afresh. “Everyone was disappointed with the result in Kanpur the other night. The fact is that we have to regroup and start again. You can’t let the disappointment linger too much. It is important to move on and have a positive mindset for the next game. If you are worried about what just happened, then it affects you leading into the next game.”

There are six teams who are still in contention of a place in the top four. There are permutations and combinations and there will be a stage when teams even after winning their final game will have to depend on the net run-rate. KKR believed in keeping a close watch on the games to follow.

“We will know a bit more after the games tonight (Saturday) so that is going to play a part,” Katich said. “Ultimately we know that if we win, we get through. Having a good run-rate helps and that is due to some good wins this season. We will be going in thinking about how we are going to win this game. We are playing at home and Sunrisers Hyderabad have had a good tournament but we feel confident given how we played against them previously.”

Katich also expected his openers to go all guns blazing, especially after a quiet couple of outings. Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have been instrumental to KKR’s fortunes and the team expected their experience to come to the fore on Sunday. “They have been a huge part of us giving a great start to the tournament. Any team thrives on having a good solid opening partnership in this format. We have certainly been best with that. The last couple of games haven’t gone according to plan, but Gambhir and Robin are both very experienced players and they know that they do have a huge responsibility in that position. We feel that they are very good players and good players normally respond to pressure and big match occasion. This is basically like a final and I am sure they would want to go and do as well as they can to get us off to a good start. If they don’t, there are other guys in the batting line-up who have the opportunity to play well. Our batsmen have been in good form. They had a disappointing game the other night, but that doesn’t make them bad players. They just had a bad game. Hopefully, they put that aside, comeback with a positive mindset and get out there tomorrow and show they are still in good form.” 
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