As Kolkata Knight Riders take on Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede stadium, their last game in the Mumbai leg, Andre Russell believes the side is well-equipped to take on the Royals, who are placed third in the points table, for the second time this season in a bid to end their five-match winless streak.
The last time the two sides met, the Royals won a high-scoring encounter by a margin of just seven runs. Jos Buttler, the English opener, struck a 60-ball 103 before the Royals’ middle-order contributed to post 217 for 5, the second highest total of the season.
“Now that we have played them, we know what their attack will be looking like,” Russell told kkr.in. “We know what their bowlers will look to do and who we need to focus on. Jos Buttler is the one who hurt is in that game. We are not going in the game focusing on just Jos Buttler because if it’s not his day, we can’t get him out cheaply, celebrate big and pretend that we have won the game.
“There’s [Sanju] Samson, [Shimron] Hetmyer and the opener [Devdutt] Padikkal. I think they have good quality players and we just can’t take them lightly. They have guys in the middle-order as well who can hurt you.
“We have to make sure that whatever we do, we do it smarter and try to keep the pressure on Rajasthan.”
In reply, the Knight Riders stitched their first century partnership of the season with Aaron Finch hitting 58 and skipper Shreyas Iyer leading the riposte with a 51-ball 85, striking seven fours and four sixes.
But the game turned on its head in the eighteenth over of the chase when Yuzvendra Chahal took four wickets in the over, including a hattrick, to finish with figures of 5 for 40 before Obed McCoy polished off the tail despite a 9-ball 21 cameo from Umesh Yadav.
The Knight Riders are currently precariously placed eighth on the points table with three wins out of nine games and are looking for an upturn to their campaign after finishing as runners-up last season.
“We have lost a few games that should have got us two points,” Russell said. “Not saying that we are dwelling on the past but I think, it’s not a long tournament. With 14 games, they keep coming at you. Once you gain that winning momentum, it’s very important and that’s what we are basically searching for right now.
“We have lost five on the chart but if we keep believing, we can win the next five on the chart. We just have to take one game at a time and try to learn from our mistakes.
“We still have a chance and we just have to play our best brand of cricket. We have to be a bit more fearless in terms of decision-making. We have to do whatever it takes to do something different and get those two points. We all have to come together as a unit and do it,” he concluded.