A confident Kolkata Knight Riders, unbeaten in the league phase, takes on a spirited Hobart Hurricanes while the redoubtable Chennai Super Kings gears up for Kings XI Punjab’s flamboyance in the semifinals of the Oppo Champions League T20 cricket championship at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday.
On the eve of the match, KXIP captain George Bailey, whose team also remained unbeaten in the league phase, insisted that in the knock-out phase, playing to the best of one’s ability is not enough. A little bit of luck is also needed.
“We have been pretty consistent. So, if we can maintain that, it then comes to winning key moments in the game,” he said.
“All previous battles don’t count. We both start from zero. Ya, it’s a bigger game but it’s a knockout game. It is also about the pressure you put on yourself from within. It’s just another game in terms of preparation and execution.
“Ashwin-Maxwell encounter will be one of the many exciting match-ups,” he said.
For his part, KKR head coach Trevor Bayliss felt that Sunil Narine being reported for a suspect action was a surprise. “Nothing’s been said in the last three years when he’s been with KKR. So, that was a bit of a surprise. But, Sunil is a very placid character. It takes a bit to ruffle him. If he had known beforehand that there’s a concern, he’d have been able to do some work on it,” Bayliss said.
“Tomorrow’s game against Hobart Hurricanes should be one between a spin-oriented team and a pace bowling team. They have some explosive batters. We need to put our best foot forward,” he added.
Hobart’s left-arm fast bowler, Doug Bollinger, felt that KKR would be at an advantage, playing in familiar conditions.
“The best way is probably to be aggressive and hold our heads high and hopefully turn into a big game,” he said.
In the wake of Narine being reported for a suspect action, Bollinger didn’t think there would be a change in his team’s strategy. “We’ll just try to be confident and get as many runs as we can,” he said.
There was no briefing from any of the team members of the Chennai Super Kings.