With two defeats out of two in the ongoing Champions League Twenty20, reigning Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders have their task cut out in trying to make it to the semi-finals of the tournament. It’s no wonder then that skipper Gautam Gambhir is calling for his team to play some “smart and better” cricket in their two remaining league fixtures.
KKR first lost to Delhi Daredevils by a convincing 52-run margin in their opening fixture and were beating comprehensively again by eight wickets in their second Group A tie, this time against Auckland Aces on Monday.
“We need to play some smart cricket, some better cricket than what we are capable of and try to get the results in our favour. Hopefully, we can win both our remaining games,” said Gambhir at the post-match presentation ceremony on Monday.
“We need to win our next two games, that’s very important for us,” he added.
Gambhir gave due credit to Auckland all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, who struck twice in the 10th over claiming the crucial wickets of Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary.
“Azhar’s first over turned the entire momentum in their favour. We lost two wickets in that particular over. The way they (Auckland Aces) bowled, a lot of credit should be given to them,” said Gambhir.
The India opener realises that his team is not doing things correctly. In fact, after the opening defeat, he had strongly criticised his batsmen for letting the team down.
“We played very badly and it was an embarrassing batting performance from us. But there is a long way to go. We have the talent and we will come back into the tournament,” he had said after the loss to Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.
His own batting has been a problem too, considering he was out without scoring against Delhi and then managed just five against Auckland. “These things happen,” is how he justified his duck against Delhi.
KKR take on the Perth Scorchers in Durban tonight followed by their final league encounter against the Titans on Sunday.
The skipper will have to lead from the front and get among the runs if his team are to effect a turnaround in the remainder of the tournament.