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Kolkata: May 26, 2014
They might be high on confidence following their seven-match winning streak, but Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) coach Trevor Bayliss said his team will have to stay grounded and perform well in order to make the finals of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014.
“It’s very similar to two years ago in 2012. We’re on a high coming into the semis (playoffs). We are in a good space but that does not necessarily mean that we will win. To give yourself a chance in the semis you got to be playing good, confident cricket. We’re playing against some very good teams,” Bayliss said on the eve of the first Qualifier match between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders Qualifier.
“I’m very proud of the boys and the character they showed. We have made the semis (qualifier one) and playing well by winning last seven games,” he added. Glenn Maxwell has been the key force in table toppers Kings XI Punjab’s success this season, but the KKR coach said they won’t go by the hype created by the media and urged the team to stay focused.
“I don’t read too much about what you guys write but we’re very happy with the way we played against Kings in the last two matches, we’re chasing 130-something. We are going to be have our game. They are a very good batting team, they can quite easily turn around. We have to stay focussed in what we’re doing,” said Bayliss.
He, however, said they were not taking anyone lightly and even a player like Virender Sehwag, who seemed to have lost his prime, could be dangerous. “He’s still a very dangerous player. The consistency may fall a little as the players get old but that does not mean they can’t score in the same manner they did once. He’s batted very well on occasions in this tournament, we’re certainly not taking him lightly. He’s a class player, a very destructive batsman, one that we would like to get out very early,” said Bayliss.
Robin Uthappa has been a revelation for KKR since he’s promoted to open the innings, as he’s now the leading run-getter in the tournament. “We did make a few small changes. The biggest change we made was with the batting order in trying to find the best combination. Over the course of the tournament, we have come up with our best combination. Certainly one that has clicked. Seven wins in a row has proved that but certainly we can still change one or two,” said Bayliss.
Showering praise on Uthappa, the coach said, “Robin has been fantastic since he’s promoted to the top of the order. The middle order probably did not work, you got to learn and and move on. He has been absolutely fantastic, his performance at the top of the order certainly merits our good run. On the new look team, Bayliss said: “We like to obviously have the same group of people. We look for good bunch of people and not just good players. We are quite happy to have quite a number of these guys back. We have got a number of guys coming into our team and they have fitted in very well.
“They have not just contributed to the performance of the team but to the atmosphere of the team.” Bayliss said there was not much difference in coaching an international side and an IPL franchise. “The players have played under different coaches of different national teams. It’s not a big difference. There might be different people with different names but it’s pretty much the same. KKR is no different.”
Asked about the areas that KKR needed to improve, Bayliss said: “Our bowling in last match was a little off. I like to see that improved but we played some very good cricket in last two games, especially in batting and fielding. We’re very much at the top of our game, we’re confident going into the semis.”
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