Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody is not reading too much into Kolkata Knight Riders’ dip in form in last five matches as he said it would not have any say in Wednesday’s Eliminator. Moody said Kolkata Knight Riders have a lot of experience of playing in the knockout stages. After a good start, KKR lost lost four matches in their last five this season. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
“KKR’s form over the past two weeks is not going to be relevant tomorrow. They have got a lot of experience in that team. There are lot of players who know how to win play-offs. So, we make sure that we focus on us and play with the same mindset we have been playing so far,” Moody told reporters on the eve of the eliminator.
Moody chose not to pick any specific player who can prove to be a match winner for Knight Riders on Wednesday, he said there are many players who are capable match winners in that side.
“There are enough good players in their side. KKR have been champions twice. They have got some high class players, so there is no individual that I would like to pick. They are good and that is why they are playing the eliminator.”
On David Warner’s captaincy, Moody said the attacking opener is one of those who “relishes the challenge of captaincy and thrives as a batsman and a fielder”.
“Tactically too Warner is thorough in pre-match preparations and in strategising, besides allowing his players to express themselves in the field,” Moody said. On KKR captain Gautam Gambhir, Moody said he respects the captain for playing a huge role in Kolkata’s IPL campaign and helping the team to win two titles.
“I have got a lot of respect for Gambhir as a captain and as a player. He has led a very successful franchise and led from the front. We expect him to, by nature, he would not give any room because he is competitive character as a leader and as a batsman. He is a terrific leader for KKR,” he said.
Moody said he still remember those moments from last year’s eliminator, in which they had defeated KKR. “We have got fine memories of that match. Compared to last year, there are different circumstances this year. We have got different balance. KKR also have got different personnel. They are playing a different style of cricket. They also have (Chris) Lynn at the top of the order and (Sunil) Narine as well.”
Moody said Sunrisers will focus on Kolkata’s each player’s profile finding their strong and weak points. “We look at every player we are playing against. We will be reviewing their strengths and weaknesses and try to exploit them. There is no player, regardless of a high-profile player or a new player, we are pretty thorough with each and every match that we play,” he said.
Asked how they would tackle pinch-hitters like Narine, Moody said they have prepared for the powerplay overs and how to bowl to Narine and Lynn in the starting overs. “We have played KKR twice and we have seen how they go about the powerplay overs. So far we have been successful in nullifying that. Yes they have got off to a flying start here, but we don’t bowl quite as inconsistently as them. So, we have got few thoughts how to approach the first six overs.
“Moreover KKR has got their own headaches. With inclusion of Narine upfront, it has thrown the middle order into confusion,” he added.
Moody said they are considering Kane Williams for Tuesday’s match but his absence from past few games had increased options for Warner to improve their bowling.
“He has always been under consideration in playing XI given that he is such a fine player. The occasions that he has missed out has given Warner a chance to strengthen bowling department,” he said.
Moody feels that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the leading bowlers in the world and also India’s one of the best.
“I think Bhuvi has shown that he is not only India’s best T20 bowlers, but you could easily put him in world cricket one of the leading bowlers, because just look at what he is done statistically even in conditions that generally can be challenging for fast bowlers on good batting surfaces here in India,” he said.
On selecting either Mohammad Nabi or Kane Williamson, he said the decision hasn’t been made till now as Nabi needed to undergo a fitness test.
“Nabi had his finger x-rayed, but we have to monitor how his hand shapes up. He’s pretty resilient and tough character. We have not yet decided on the balance of the side,” Moody concluded.