Royal Challengers Bangalore might be coming here with a lot of confidence after their record win in their previous match but Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Yusuf Pathan on Sunday said his side would start as favourites when the two sides clash in an IPL match on Monday.
“It will be a different wicket, different conditions and an away match (for RCB). They have to settle down here. We have the home advantage as we know the conditions well here,” Yusuf said at a promotional event in Kolkata.
Captain Virat Kohli and team-mate AB de Villiers hit centuries and stitched a record partnership as Bangalore thrashed Gujarat by 144 runs on Saturday, the biggest ever victory in IPL.
Congratulating the duo, Yusuf said, “They played really well. It’s really commendable. Congratulations to them.”
It’s still a tough road ahead for Kohli’s team as they have to win their remaining three matches while the two-time former champions KKR require a win to seal a final four berth.
One of the positives for KKR this season has been the form of Yusuf who has been part of three IPL winning teams including one with Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural 2008 season.
Yusuf’s strike rate this season — 165.62 — is the second best among batsmen who have faced 100 or more balls and he averages an astounding 132.50.
The 33-year-old gave credit to the support staff for his success with the bat this season.
“I always have faith in my abilities. Many things contribute to your success, like the support you get from your coaching staff and teammates.
“I feel very comfortable. I’ve been getting all the help that’s needed. Support staff plays a major role in this. It’s not just my success but the credit goes to people who have worked with me in the last six years,” a modest Yusuf said.
“I’ve been batting well this season, feeling a lot more confident. I was just focusing on my game after two wickets were down (in three balls against Pune).
Yusuf, however refused to compare the IPL seasons.
“It’s not fair to compare any season. Every match, every innings is different. You keep on improving. I try to improve every match,” he said.
Asked about their gameplan against RCB on Monday, he said, “We are just working on our our positives and it’s working well for us so far.”
Bangalore’s bowling attack may be their weak link but Yusuf said it’s not fair to underestimate anyone in this unpredictable format.
“You can’t say when what will click. they have a strong batting line-up. but bowlers can also win matches on a given day. you cannot underestimate their bowling. a team wins only if all the three departments clicks,” he said.
The contentious Duckworth-Lewis method was termed rubbish by Rising Pune Supergiants head coach Stephen Fleming after his team lost to KKR by eight wickets in a rain-curtailed match.
Yusuf, however, refused to comment on the D/L method. “Obviously it’s a method that’s in place after much research. They can answer that well. My job is to play cricket.”
He hailed the groundsmen for doing a great job to clear the ground after the downpour.
“Ground was totally dry. Obviously, you face difficulty when the game reduced but we are professional cricket and are aware of the challenges.”
Asked if his career has bounced back on track and would he look to make a come back in the national team like 37-year-old Ashish Nehra, he said: “I’m much younger to Ashishbhai. The way he has performed in the recent past is really great. When you focus on your cricket, everything falls in place. It’s a lesson for the youngsters.”
He also praised rookie medium pacer Ankit Rajpoot who played his first match and took 1/24 in two overs.
“KKR is not dependent any one player. Even Rajpoot’s debut was very impressive. It’s a very good sign for the team,” said Yusuf.