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Kolkata Knight Riders can even be No. 1 in IPL points table: Lakshmipathy Balaji

Kolkata Knight Riders face Mumbai Indians in their last league match of the 2017 Indian Premier League. KKR’s bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji is positive that the team will finish on top of points table

ipl 2017 Updated: May 13, 2017 00:58 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
IPL 2017,Kolkata Knight Riders,Lakshmipathy Balaji
Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders is currently second in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 with 16 points from 13 games.(BCCI)

A positive attitude and camaraderie; that is what is keeping Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in good spirits and above most teams in the IPL 10 standings.

Asked whether the mathematical possibility of being eliminated would play on their minds when they go out against Mumbai Indians (MI) here on Saturday, KKR’s bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji’s somewhat philosophical take was: “I look at it the other way around. KKR may get to No 1 (with a big win). You normally live your life with circumstances and opportunities…. This is another opportunity to decide where we are heading towards in this tournament.”

Read | ‘How Kolkata Knight Riders invited IPL 2017 defeat versus Kings XI Punjab’

Should KKR notch up a comprehensive win on Saturday and better MI’s net run rate, it may keep them on top of the standings should some other results go their way.

The ability of the players to connect too has made KKR a team to reckon with, said the former India pacer. “We have been in a good space within ourselves, enjoying each other’s company, the friendship amid all the different cultures. All these things in a tournament where you are out of house and often without family for six weeks are important to bind as a team.”

Read | IPL 2017: Chris Lynn disappointed for not taking Kolkata Knight Riders home

That bonding has forged some crucial bowling partnerships, said Balaji. Such as Umesh Yadav bowling alongside Chris Woakes, he said. Woakes has 17 wickets so far and Yadav 14. Or a Kuldeep Yadav with Sunil Narine. “We have already touched some good numbers (in bowling),” he said.

Balaji didn’t give a specific answer to whether KKR have been able to bring their A game to any of their 13 matches but said “we have found ways to get to the position we are in right now. We have had a bit of hiccups with injuries but the team has shown character. It’s not one game; we have defended low totals as well as chased down big totals….We have a strong bench strength as well.”

And the former KKR and India bowler said going forward, there won’t be too many changes in the way the Knights approach games in IPL 10. “We will stick to what we can control and what comes to us naturally,” he said.

First Published: May 13, 2017 00:58 IST