Kolkata Knight Riders’ top spinner Sunil Narine’s impressive run in the Champions League Twenty20 was marred on Monday when he was reported by the umpires for bowling with a suspect action. But the team has rallied behind the Trinidadian off-spinner, who has claimed 11 wickets to top the bowling charts in the tournament.
Coach Trevor Bayliss believes the umpires call will not affect the star bowler when he lines up against Hobart Hurricanes in the first semi-final at Hyderabad today.
He said: “There are some bad habits that creep in, whether you are a batsman or a bowler. And then someone points it out and you are able to do something about it.
“Sunil is a cricketer who has got a long career ahead of him. He wants to be playing for the next ten or twelve years.
“He is quite happy to work on anything that needs to be worked on and I don’t think it will take much from him to get it right,” he added.
Kolkata have been on an incredible run that began in 2014 Indian Premier League. They have won 13 matches on the trot, including all four in the CLT20.
Opener Robin Uthappa (154 runs) has been their batting mainstay with Narine leading a spin pack that has troubled the best in the business. Now, they will be against Hobart, who have a quality pace attack in Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ben Laughlin who have proved to be quite effective in this tournament.
Despite possessing the best spin attack in Narine, leggie Piyush Chawla, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and offie Yusuf Pathan, Bayliss believes they will have to bring on their A game to tame the Hobart batsmen especially the likes of Aiden Blizzard and Shoaib Malik.
“It is an advantage that we have a number of spin bowlers in our team who are all different in their own way,” he said. “It gives us a lot of variety in the spin department and every one of those bowlers are quality spinners as well. It is one thing playing spin and it is another thing to play quality spin.
“Some of the Hobart batsmen are good players and can hit the ball a long way. If we don’t bowl well, I am sure they will be good enough to take advantage of that.”
Bayliss expects the match to be decided between Hobart pacers and the Kolkata spinners.
“It’s probably a match between a spin-oriented team and a pace bowling team. Hobart Hurricanes have some really good players and some explosive batsmen and we have to put our best foot forward to beat them,” he added.
It will also be the first day game for Kolkata, who have played all their group games in the night. Bayliss dismisses the notion the change might take them by surprise.
“It doesn’t really matter if it’s as a 4pm game or a night game because the players are used to playing under both conditions,” he said. “There might be less dew at four in the afternoon which has affected our bowlers to a certain degree over the last game or two.
“Hopefully it is nice and hot tomorrow, because these guys come from Hobart, which is one of the coldest places in Australia. Hopefully that takes some effect as well,” he added with a chuckle.
Hobart pacer Bollinger, however is confident his team is wellequipped to deal with the Kolkata’s spin threat.
“It’s a good advantage that KKR have here and they have got a great team,” he said.
“Our guys know what they are up against and that’s what we have been practicing since morning today.
“We just have to be confident and really have a go. The only way we can win is by going out there, holding our heads high and playing an aggressive game."
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