Knight Riders look to bring back IPL campaign on track

Kolkata: For the Kolkata Knight Riders their shocking two-run loss to Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League opener is history now and the team is looking
forward to bring their campaign back on track when they take on Deccan Chargers here at the Eden Gardens on Monday.

And the Knight Riders` coach Dav Whatmore feels that his team is capable of bouncing back.

"Well, we would rather lose our first match and come on winning notes in the other matches. It`s always nice to get points. I thought it was one that got away from us. But that`s history now," said Whatmore.

"We have learnt something from it and hope we can perform to the best of our ability and there is no reason why we should not be having good times ahead for us," he added.

Whatmore further said that they did not regret their decision of playing KKR`s new captain Gautam Gambhir at No 6 position, but hinted that he might open tomorrow.

"In this format of the game, you got to be as flexible as you can. In the hindsight, yes we would have liked him to bat at one or two but these decisions are to be made pretty much as you go along.”

"He (Gambhir) was very confident that the players would finish the game off but that was not the case. However, that was not the reason for winning or losing the game. There are a number of factors that could have changed the course of the
result," said Whatmore.

The World Cup winning former Sri Lankan coach also said they were looking at Gambhir to come out on his own. "He has been with us for a few days. But he leads from front, he leads by example. He has been a wonderful contributor to the Indian cricket. Looking forward very much for him to contribute with the bat. He is terrific... everyone is enjoying his company, his leadership."

For the Knight Riders this will be the first match at their home ground without city`s favourite son Sourav Ganguly, who was shunned in the latest IPL bidding, and Whatmore said they were not missing the former India captain as they chose their players carefully in the auction and added that the team would get maximum from the home matches beginning tomorrow.

"Not really," said Whatmore when asked if he and his team were missing Ganguly.

"We have got very good players, who we think are really competitive, skillful as we bought them at the auctions. We are more than happy to be working with them and I`ve full confidence that we will have a good season," he added.

Whatmore said his boys are familiar with the Eden wicket and hoped to get maximum from the seven home matches. "It looks pretty good. We have had practices on it for the last three weeks. The boys are pretty familiar with the
wicket. It looks okay and we hope to get maximum points from the home games," he said.

Former Knight Riders` bowler Ishant Sharma is now in the Deccan`s ranks and Whatmore felt that the lanky bowler would be hoping to prove a point or two.

"His first three overs were really good (against Rajasthan Royals). Sadly for him, his fourth over was not the way he would have liked it to be. I am sure he would like to prove a point here. But we have to put our best foot forward as well."

Meanwhile, Knight Riders` South African recruit Jacques Kallis said he was looking forward to his battle against compatriot Dale Steyn.

"I am looking forward to it. But it`s not only Steyn, any bowler is a challenge to a batsman. I have got an opportunity to bat against him, so hopefully I can come on top of him," said Kallis.

On their shocking loss to Chennai, Kallis said 99 times out of 100 they could have won the match.

"We can learn a few things from the last game. I think our fielding let us down. It was one of those games that unfortunately got away from us. We lost it rather than Chennai winning it," said the veteran cricketer.

"Everybody will take a little time to settle down. It`s start of the new IPL. Everybody is getting to know each other. We have some talented youngsters as well.”

"Perhaps we think we fell short by a couple of runs because of the inexperience. Hopefully, we have a successful season ahead of us. Deccan Chargers are a good side. Every side is a dangerous side in Twenty20 cricket. You cannot take anyone for granted in T20," he added.

PTI

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