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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
Bowling or fielding, KKR have the manpower in place
Nilankur Das, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, May 12, 2012
First Published: 00:31 IST(12/5/2012)
Last Updated: 00:33 IST(12/5/2012)

By the halfway stage, the Knight Riders had emerged as one of the most economical bowling units. Now, when the league is entering the business end, Gautam Gambhir's boys have only managed to get more miserly when it comes to conceding runs.

The Delhi Daredevils have been overtaken by the Mumbai Indians on the economy chart and are now placed third, but KKR's dominance in the race has continued.

A lot of it is due to the fact that batsmen are yet to read their mystery spinner Sunil Narine and Brett Lee, who has perfected a line that's just within the white line marked outside off-stump.

On their toes
But the other most important factor that has gone a long way in keeping the opposition in check has been the fielders.

Talk of fielding, and a 23-year-old from New South Wales, Steven Smith, comes to mind. Smith has pulled off some amazing catches and a few superman-like attempts for the Pune Warriors, but in a team that has ageing legs like Sourav Ganguly, Murali Karthik and Ashish Nehra, one man is not going to make a difference.

The Knight Riders too have their share of ageing legs like the 35-year-old Lee and 36-year-old Jacques Kallis or Brendon McCullum, and it is from these veteran internationals that the team has drawn inspiration.

Lee has been one of the most agile fast bowlers through his career and surprisingly remains one of the most dependable outfielders. The same goes with Kallis. "These players are stars in the own right," coach Trevor Bayliss told HT.

"So, youngsters want to emulate them. The commitment they show on the field thus becomes very infectious. Look at the way Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Debabrata Das have fielded through the tournament. We all knew Manoj Tiwary is a fantastic fielder," said the coach.

The other advantage KKR never had in the past was leadership when it came to inspired fielding. Gautam Gambhir has changed that. A run in, pick up and an underarm throw diving in front for a direct hit to dismiss the dangerous-looking Mahela Jayawardene in their last match at Kotla was a game changer in its own right.


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