Ahead of their IPL Eliminator at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir has put extra emphasis on highlighting that their competitors Sunrisers Hyderabad are not just a one man team with over-reliance on David Warner. It cannot be underlined enough, though, that the SRH skipper is a key, key wicket to get for the KKR bowlers when the contest is played on Wednesday. Warner leads the Orange Cap charts with 603 runs from 13 matches. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
Gambhir also called on KKR players to be wary of other important SRH players such as Shikhar Dhawana, who partners Warner at the top; Afghan leggie Rashid Khan and Purple Cap holder Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He also suggested the presence of Yuvraj Singh could make a difference – but the left hand batsman is still doubtful to play with Ashish Nehra most definitely ruled out.
“I have a lot of time for the other Afghan, Mohammad Nabi. He’s quite good and has wonderful control in his off-spinners. It is a sudden death for both teams and we had already suffered at the hands of the same team last season,” he wrote in his column for Hindustan Times.
He also asked his team to take on the “hurt” of the defeat to Mumbai Indians by 9 runs at Eden Gardens on Saturday and use that as a “catalyst” in their push to beat SRH on Wednesday.
A win for KKR and they would have climbed to second place in the IPL standings but the eventual result meant they finished fourth. Now, they have to win two matches to seal a place in the final and both will be make-or-break contests. Batting first, MI scored 173, handing KKR a decent target of 174.
“All we needed was cricketing awareness, calm minds, and above all, pride in wearing the purple jersey. Unfortunately, all these were missing. I was shattered seeing my team-mates committing suicide after suicide. This was after we sent messages to the batsmen twice that there was no need to accelerate. All we needed was a partnership of about 70-80 runs and that will break the back of Mumbai’s total. Even during the first strategic break, Kallis and Katich both tried to impress upon the batsmen we don’t need to go aerial, just play risk-free cricket,” he further wrote in the column.
Gambhir recognised that there were some who cried in the dressing room but admitted that it was their fault to not seal the win – especially with MI playing a weakened side.