Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach Simon Katich today said his team is looking to ride the new-found momentum when it takes on Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League Eliminator at Eden Gardens on Wednesday. KKR ride high on confidence as they have defeated the Ajinkya Rahane led team twice in the league matches and with the home ground advantage provided, the Dinesh Karthik led team will hope not to let this one slip.
Kolkata suffered back to back losses to Mumbai Indians that included their heaviest defeat in the IPL when they were humiliated by 102 runs at home to slip out of top-four.
But the Dinesh Karthik-led side scripted a remarkable turnaround posting the highest total of the season -- 245/6 -- en route to winning three on the trot to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth time.
"To be able to put that behind mentally, go back and be able to regroup is a testament to the group and character of the team. We would like to think that it would hold us in good stead tomorrow night," Katich told reporters at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
"It's always a different feeling in the playoffs because you know there's no tomorrow. We can't afford to have a bad night. But we have been in that situation in last three games really with the position we put ourselves into after back-to-back losses to Mumbai.
"The way the guys have adapted has been excellent and the belief in the group has been very good as well. The tough part starts now."
Kolkata defeated Rajasthan in both their matches this season. Rajasthan were going great guns with 63 for no loss inside five overs, when Andre Russell provided the breakthrough to dismiss Rahul Tripathi before Kuldeep Yadav's four-wicket haul triggered the collapse.
Terming Russell a big-match player, Katich said: "He got us into the contest here... He is a big match player and we expect he is going to be ready to go for hopefully what is a big week if we can get the job done tomorrow night."
Katich further showered praise on skipper Dinesh Karthik who led by example and has filled in the void created by their most successful skipper Gautam Gambhir.
"It's always difficult when you come to a new franchise. You have to learn on your feet in terms of how your players go about it and also our game style which probably is a bit different from what he's been used to given the way we match-up with our batting and potentially three spinners.
"He's certainly learnt lot in these seven weeks about the group and the way we play. His batting has been outstanding, he's been on the top of his game. We have been very lucky from that point of view."
Their opponents Rajasthan Royals may consider themselves lucky in their passage to the playoff after a scratchy campaign but the former Aussie cricketer said their opponents mentored by Shane Warne would be no pushovers.
"The fact that Rajasthan are in the finals is no surprise given the talent they got in the squad but also the level of leadership from Ajinkya (Rahane). Also the fact that they have got a very good mentor in Shane Warne whose cricketing brain is outstanding.
(With PTI Inputs)