Jacques Kallis is confident Kolkata Knights Riders can extend their winning streak to 15 by winning the Champions League Twenty20 final against Chennai Super Kings tonight.
Kallis had been relatively quiet in the tournament scoring only 12 runs in two games but he rose to the occasion on Thursday with an unbeaten 54 off 40 balls to guide Kolkata past Hobart Hurricanes in the semi-final. Kallis dismissed talk that Kolkata have gained an air of invincibility by winning 14 games on the trot.
The South African legend said senior players like him have an additional responsibility to ensure that the team stays focused on the task ahead than rely on past successes.
He said: “As senior players you make sure you keep the guys’ feet on the ground and that’s what we have been doing. We haven’t looked to hit out or lose our focus and we are working as hard, as if we are on a losing streak.
“As long as we keep doing that, there’s no reason why we can’t continue like this. We have a big final and we will start on naught. We will need a big performance and I know the guys will be up for it and looking forward to it,” he told clt20.com.
Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir paid tribute to Kallis’s knock saying held the innings together perfectly.
He said: “When it comes to games like these, where we’re chasing 140-145, we want someone who can anchor the innings and Kallis is someone who has done that brilliantly throughout his career.
“Obviously, having his experience will always be useful for the young guys in the middle, so it gives us that opportunity to go hard up front because we know there is someone who can anchor the innings. He’s been an unbelievable player and a great contributor for us. He has that role of playing throughout the innings.”
The absence of Sunil Narine is a big blow but captain Gautam Gambhir is banking on the team’s resilience and hunger to sail them through.
He said: “The only reason we have such a streak is we haven’t spoken about it in the dressing room. And that shows the character of the team as well, with no complacency.
“The important thing is you want to go on the cricket field winning each and every game. That is what I think hunger and determination is all about.
"Winning continuously and with such kind of a streak, you need to play well as a team. You can’t just be dependent on one department, and in that sense I think we’ve done pretty well."
Kolkata have not played a match at Bangalore in this tournament but Kallis is leaning on their IPL triumph four months back at the same ground for inspiration.
They had defeated Kings XI Punjab by three wickets, chasing 200.
“We have good memory from there of winning the IPL. Also, guys know those conditions pretty well. The wicket is behaving pretty much the same as it did during the IPL. It has gotten a bit slower if anything and that will suit our bowlers.”
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