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IPL 2017: Consistent Kolkata Knight Riders eye double against Gujarat Lions

Kolkata Knight Riders have eight points from five matches while Gujarat Lions are on two points from as many games in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 21, 2017 01:20 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
IPL 2017,Kolkata Knight Riders,Gujarat Lions
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir during a practice session at the Eden Gardens ahead of their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 match against Gujarat Lions.(PTI)

Given the fickle nature of sport, more so T20, teams are loathe to get ahead of themselves but a good weekend, beginning Friday night when they host Gujarat Lions at Eden, can put Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) within sniffing distance of a playoff berth in IPL 10.

“We are obviously happy with four (wins) out of five. It should really have been five out of five but we messed up against Mumbai Indians. But they are a very dangerous team and I think they will be there during the end stages. We didn’t have a good game against Mumbai but we’ve learnt from that, especially bowling at the death and fielding,” said KKR assistant-coach Simon Katich.

Read | IPL 2017: Chef Simon Katich cooking different brew for Kolkata Knight Riders

Teams usually make the last-four accumulating between 14 and 16 points and should they do the double against Gujarat Lions and beat Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, KKR would be on 12 points at the halfway stage.

“There are no weak teams but it does matter how you fared against your opponents away,” said Knight Yusuf Pathan who, during Thursday’s media interaction, also spoke about ‘going to the finals.’

Read | Gujarat Lions’ Aaron Finch wishes Kolkata Knight Riders’ Chris Lynn was playing

Gujarat Lions go into their sixth game with one win. But they will need to look no further than KKR who, from a similar situation, became champions in 2014.

“I think we haven’t consistently put our batting, bowling and fielding together in one unit. I thought we played very well against Pune (Rising Pune Supergiant) where, after a slow start with the ball, we dragged them back beautifully and had a nice run chase. We are batting reasonably well as a group, the two standouts being Dinesh (Karthik) and (Brendon) McCullum,” said Lions’ hard-hitting Australian Aaron Finch.

To that Dinesh Karthik added: “I think our bowling has been a little inexperienced but we do have some good bowlers and all it takes is a couple of guys to stand up in each game. Andrew Tye stood up well against Pune and we did well as a unit. Basil Thampi is promising but he will look even better when the bowlers around him do really well.”

It was against the Lions that KKR announced their intent to blaze away with the bat. After Chris Lynn’s injury, the experiment has been moderately successful but Pathan said as a team they chose to focus on the positives. Such as those down the order batting really well, said the man whose 39-ball 59 helped KKR avoid Monday blues in New Delhi.

Pathan said it was a ‘crime’ that he didn’t stay to finish the game against Delhi Daredevils. “I regret that especially because I have stayed till the end in the past. Hopefully, I won’t do that again,” said the man who doesn’t go slam-bang from the first ball anymore.

First Published: Apr 20, 2017 21:04 IST