IPL 9: Spin threat awaits Rising Supergiants against Knight Riders at Eden Gardens
Keen to make the most of their 'home run', Kolkata Knight Riders will be relieved to get back on Eden's signature slow wicket when the Rising Pune Superstars come calling on Saturday
Kolkata: Keen to make the most of their 'home run', Kolkata Knight Riders will be relieved to get back on Eden's signature slow wicket when the Rising Pune Superstars come calling on Saturday. After taming Kings XI Punjab on a slow turner last week, Gambhir & Co were done in by Gujarat Lions a couple of days later on a seaming track.
KKR assistant coach Simon Katich
It is believed it wasn't a wicket of KKR's choice, and their displeasure has reached the Cricket Association of Bengal. Interestingly, Sourav Ganguly, a former skipper and 'icon' at KKR, is now the president of the state association.
"It has certainly not spun square but it was a good cricket wicket, and the quickies got swing," was all Simon Katich was willing to say yesterday, a couple of days before KKR take on Rising Pune Supergiants. "The batsmen have all enjoyed batting on it; we can't complain about the wicket," added the assistant coach. Ironically, as the action moves to a slow and low track, a surface KKR have learnt to live on so well over the past few years, they are confronted by three quality spinners.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Murugan Ashwin and Adam Zampa form a fine trio. Zampa, the Aussie leg-spinner, comes here after a magical six for 19 against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Zampa, Ashwin two good for Pune
"Zampa's a very good prospect, and Ravichandran Ashwin a proven campaigner. Normally the wicket takes a bit of turn here; it does look quite dry," said Katich, but was quick to point out that KKR have good options too.
"(Piyush) Chawla has been bowling beautifully, particularly against Bangalore where he provided crucial breakthroughs. Shakib's economy has been fantastic. It's a big thing that Sunil (Narine) is coming back from his remedial work; he's at a stage where he's gaining confidence with every game. And there's Hogg, from whom we expect a lot," he said.
For Narine, who missed two matches because of a finger injury, Saturday's will be the sort of wicket he has revelled on. He prepared with long spells at the nets on Wednesday and yesterday. "We're pretty positive he will be fit for Saturday. He's feeling a lot better given that we had a bit of break since our game against Gujarat," Katich informed.
Pointing to a "topsy-turvy tournament", Katich brushes aside doomsayers who point to last year's 'so near, yet so far' finish. Nor will he count the chickens before they are hatched.
"We lost our last game but have a couple of home games now. Hopefully, we'll turn it around and take some momentum into a possible playoff campaign," he said, adding: "It's going to be a tight tournament as we can see from the points table. There's still a lot of work to go. The four games are crucial to make sure we finish in a good position."