IPL 2017: Chris Woakes believes Kolkata Knight Riders can still finish in top two – After starting the season with a flourish, KKR have slumped a little with back-to-back defeats in their previous two games.
Chris Woakes (L) and Gautam Gambhir in action during IPL 2017 (PTI)
Back to back defeats in a fast-paced tournament can be detrimental but Kolkata Knight Riders all- rounder Chris Woakes is confident that their side will win the remaining matches to finish among top-two going into the play-offs of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“Our camp is still upbeat. We have some important games coming up and we want to make sure that we win to qualify. We still firmly believe in the dressing room that we can go on to finish in top two,” Woakes said his team’s four-wicket loss to Rising Pune Supergiant.
A top-two finish in the league gives a team two chances to make it to the final as they are entitled to play Qualifiers. The third and fourth teams are engaged in an Eliminator.
“We did not quite get going in the Powerplay. To lose three wickets in Powerplay put us behind but we always tried to rebuild. When you keep losing wickets in T20 cricket, it’s hard to keep up with the rate. We were probably short by 15-20 runs. We were below-par and not an ideal score to defend on this wicket,” Woakes said.
Unlike a cliched about taking positives from a victory, Woakes said there were none. “It’s hard to take any positives, when you lose a game in T20. Sometimes it can be called ugly when you lose a game. Probably, they could have cruised home a bit sooner. Total above 150 is not a huge score particularly here at Eden Gardens, usually a good pitch with a fast outfield. Par is round about 170-180 here. But we can take positive from the fact that we fought all the way till the end.”
Sunil Narine looked out of sorts against some exceptional swing bowling from Unadkat as they were down to 40/3 inside Powerplay.
“I think he’s come off on a few occasions and got us to absolute flier. We also chased down some good scores and also he allows us to set some good total as well. He’s a good player top of the order. In case he gets 20 off 10 balls I would say he got us off to a good start,” he said backing the team’s decision to send Narine atop the order.
“The ball swung around a little bit in the first over. You have to give credit to the bowler sometimes. To bowl a wicket-maiden in Twenty20 cricket, you have to be using them right.”
Woakes termed Rahul Tripathi as one for the future. “It’s always difficult to stop a player on his day. We dropped a few chances against (David) Warner (in the previous match against Hyderabad). When you give good players some chances they take it for advantage.
“But we did not do that today and dropped any chances. He (Tripathi) played a fantastic knock. All credit to him. He put us under pressure. He attacked the new ball and when spinners came in he hit some good boundaries and cleared the ropes. He looks a very good player a guy for the future. Sometimes you have to say “very well played”.”
He also pointed out that the absence of form player like Robin Uthappa hurt them. Uthappa is suffering from hamstring pull. “It’s a big void for us. He scored a lot of runs for us this tournament and is up there with the leading scorers of the tournament. Fingers crossed, he’s not out for too long and is back for the next game.”