Coach Kallis warns table-toppers KKR against 2015-like slip up that cost them a play-off berth
Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders may be going along smoothly with six wins from nine matches but head coach Jacques Kallis yesterday warned the team against complacency, saying that it had slipped out of contention from a similar position in last year’s IPL.
Kolkata Knight Riders players celebrate a Kings XI Punjab wicket during their IPL tie at Eden Gardens on Wednesday. Pics/AFP
“The positive of course is we’re atop the table. We’re sitting pretty in a good position. I suppose some of the negatives might be we were pretty similar to this last year, then sort of relaxed towards the end,” Kallis told reporters on the sidelines of ‘Knight Golf’ a charity initiative at RCGC here.
Right: KKR coach Jacques Kallis indulges in some putting at a charity golf event in Kolkata yesterday
Rewind the clock to IPL-2015 and then defending champions KKR had climbed to the pole position after a thrilling one-run win over Kings XI Punjab at Eden Gardens on May 9. But as it turned out, they lost two matches (Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals) on the trot to slip out of top-four and miss a playoff berth.
“We are aware of that and hopefully we have learnt from it. We’re working hard. The way the guys gel together, getting a balanced side, there are a lot of positives going forward,” the legendary South African all-rounder said.
Returning home after being on the road for six matches over three weeks, KKR defeated the same Kings XI Punjab last night to topple Gujarat Lions from the pole position on net run-rate.
Thanks to their four wins from six away matches their last-four prospect is brighter this time as the two-time former champions need to win two more matches from their remaining five matches.
“It’s been a tough three weeks on the road. It makes it a lot easier for us. But having said that you still have to play good cricket. We can’t just sit back and expect that we will win at home. It’s nice to have that cushion.
“Hopefully, we can carry that forward. Probably you need eight wins, that means two more for us. Certainly that will be our first objective. Obviously, it becomes easier when you finish among Top Two.
“Certainly, our main objective will be to get into playoffs first, then we will think of finishing among top two,” the head coach said reminding the team of the old cliché, “One game at a time."