Kolkata Knight Riders' leg-spinner Piyush Chawla acknowledges the early inroads made by Andre Russell & John Hastings which helped his team beat Delhi Daredevils at Eden Gardens
Kolkata: For Mumbai Indians, seeking solace after Saturday's disastrous launch to their IPL title-defence, the good news is that their clash against Kolkata Knight Riders will be on a wicket that should lend itself nicely to their array of strokemakers. The bad news is that KKR, having relied on signature slow turners at home in recent years, have now invested in personel who can serve them on tracks with true bounce and 'carry'.
Sunday's nine-wicket demolition of Delhi Daredevils on the track that hosted the World T20 final a week ago signalled a shift in strategy as KKR seek a more all-weather look. They are thus setting right a lacuna that let them down in away matches last season. The same pitch will be presented for Wednesday's match.
Rohit Sharma and his men arrived here late on Sunday evening, and looked none the worse for Saturday's drubbing. They put in an intense practice session under the Eden lights on Monday.
Parthiv Patel came out with skipper Rohit Sharma first up for a long stint at the nets, amidts speculations that Mumbai will tweak the foreigners' combo. Lendl Simmons had opened with Sharma on Saturday.
Kolkata Knight Riders' pacer Andre Russell celebrates with teammates a Delhi Daredevils wicket during the IPL Twenty20 match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. Russell was part of West Indies' World T20-winning squad. Pic/PTI
On Sunday, Shakib Al-Hasan, an 'automatic choice' for KKR at home, had to sit out as the Knights opted for a couple of wrist spinners in a 'horses for courses' policy. John Hastings and Colin Munro, new purchases at the February auction, joined the seam attack.
"The start given by the medium-pacers made it easier for the spinners," said Chawla, acknowledging the early inroads by Andre Russell and Hastings before pointing out that "As wrist spinners, (Brad) Hogg and I have that advantage of getting turn on any wicket. "You will get slow wickets only in Kolkata and a couple of other places. Mostly, we'll get a different type of wickets in our away matches. So, it's a good start for us as spinners as well."
'Looking for extra swing'
The Daredevils seamers too found perchase from the track, but not Zaheer Khan. "I was trying a bit too much," said the former India star, who repeatedly drifted into Gautam Gambhir's pads as he failed to find the movement he had made allowance for. "I was on the field after a long time. With a low total to defend, you try too much as a bowler. I was looking for that extra swing."
Like Mumbai against the Rising Pune Superstars on Saturday, the Daredevils failed to set a challenging target for their opponents. "Sometimes you do get caught up in the T20 format. That's what happens while batting first; you always chase that big number," Zaheer rationalised.