Yusuf Pathan is a match-winner, has won many matches for KKR: Manish Pandey

Yusuf Pathan has not performed to the lofty standards set by him but Pandey feels the power-hitter will come good soon.

Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan
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Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Salman Khan
SALMAN KHAN

Sr. Staff Writer

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Kolkata Knight Riders had a dream start to IPL 2017 as they were clinical in their approach. They have now faced two successive defeats but are a win or two away from sealing a spot in the final four. With 3 more league games to go, the Gautam Gambhir-led side will be looking to gather some momentum in the lead up to the playoffs.

The stutter has been largely due to the over-reliance on the top order which did not get going in the last two games. The middle-order was not really tested apart from Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey as they along with Gambhir and Sunil Narine at the top were in prolific form. By virtue of these batsmen’s good showings, Yusuf Pathan had to bat just 7 times in the 11 games they have played so far.

The Baroda batsman hasn’t had the best of seasons as he has scored just one fifty in 7 innings and averages 24.20 at a below par strike rate of 122.22. He received words of support from fellow teammate Manish Pandey. Pandey himself has been in the thick of things as he has scored runs at crucial junctures to bail his side out of trouble.

“We all know Yusuf is a match-winner. He has won many matches for KKR. It happens sometimes that many of your batsmen do not get going. We also are waiting for him to come out with a big knock and win the match for us, like he always does,” he said.

In the last two games, a lot depended on Yusuf but his scores of 4 and 12 meant that KKR lost the game by 48 runs to SRH and by 4 wickets to RPS. The defeats have hurt KKR but they vow to fight back.

“It’s about playing really well on the given day. We are just focusing on our basics to win the remaining games from here,” said Pandey.

With 14 points in the bank, KKR just needs one more win to seal their spot in the playoffs. Ideally, KKR would want to finish in the top two in order to allow themselves another chance of qualifying for the finals if they lose their first playoffs game.

“We will play every game like the way we started the tournament. It’s about doing well in the departments we have been doing well. We have been consistent for four years. We are just one win away from qualifying so our focus as of now is only that,” he stated.

KKR play RCB, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians in their last three league games.