Sunil Narine may have caught everyone’s attention as a big-hitting opening batsman but Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach Simon Katich on today gave credit to India star pacer Umesh Yadav for setting up their eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab. “It’s never easy to walk straight into the side and turn around the game. Let’s not forget he (Umesh) had a couple of weeks off,” Katich said about Umesh. Umesh played a big role in India’s 2-1 win over Australia in the recent four-Test series and he missed KKR’s first two matches because of a niggle. “Yesterday he basically turned the game for us. At one stage we were looking at a chase of 200 but the key wicket of Glenn Maxwell cracked the game open for us,” he said of Yadav who returned with 4/33 to restrict KXIP to 170/9 last night.
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In a match-turning 18th over, Yadav took three wickets including two — of Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha — off successive deliveries to put brakes on KXIP’s scoring rate. “He always bowled with pace. That wicket of Maxwell yesterday was well-executed. He got him out caught behind following him was exactly what we had discussed before the game. “That sort of the stuff does not go unnoticed from the coaching group. It was part of the planning. That comes with a level of experience he’s probably learned a couple of years of playing for India consistently,” Katich said.
“The big thing with most players who play International matches for an extended period of time, is you get a lot of confidence,” he said on the eve of KKR’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad tomorrow. Talking about Sunil Narine who hit an 18-ball 37 at the top of the order, Katich said, “We knew he can bat. With Chris Lynn injured at the moment we felt the need to try him at the top. He played a huge part. To be 76 after six overs was a fantastic start that killed the game. “He repaid that faith. He thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as vocal in training as we found out while batting atop the order. His nickname is ‘all-rounder’ now. Hopefully, that continues.”