Hyderabad: It will be the spin bowling of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against the pace attack of Hobart Hurricanes as they clash in the first semifinal of the Oppo Champions League T20 cricket tournament here Thursday.
KKR, the Indian Premier League (IPL) champions, look to keep their record clean in the championship and extend their winning streak to 14 in a row.
Hobart Hurricanes, who lost one out of four league matches to finish second in their, is also geared up to face the challenge at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here.
KKR, which won all the matches played under lights, will be testing the fortunes for the first time in a day-night match on has become its home ground.
The team from Australia will be keen to repeat its performance here when it beat Cape Cobras by six wickets in the league match.
As KKR coach Trevor Bayliss said it will be a match between spin oriented team and a pace bowling team. "Hobart team have some very good players, some explosive batters. We need to put our best foot forward and play well against them to beat them," he said
The KKR coach said the team definitely has an advantage with number of spin bowlers who are all different. "They give us a lot of variety in spin bowling department, and everyone of those bowlers are quality spinners as well. It's one thing playing spin and it's another playing quality spin. These Hobart boys are good players and hit the ball a long way and on their day will be able to play our guys well. If we don't bowl well I'm sure they'll be good enough to take advantage of that."
The spin attack of the IPL champions will be led by the mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who was reported for suspected illegal bowling action by the umpires during Monday's match.
The KKR coach said Narine was confident of overcoming any problems. Hobart pacer Doug Bollinger, however, feels that the development will not affect their strategy. "He's been bowling fantastically and he's a great bowler. But I think we just got to go out there and play how he's been bowling and how other teams we've seen them play him. I don't think we'll change much. He'll just keep bowling the way he's used to. We'll just try to be confident and get as many runs as we can," Bollinger said.
Bayliss believes playing the 4 p.m. match will not make much difference as the players these days are used to playing under different conditions.
The coach said KKR is a very happy unit and the players are not talking about consecutive victories. "Everyone in our squad whether we're having a game of golf, go karting, having a joke or playing playstation, we're just having a good time. They're all good players obviously but good players in a good environment always produces good cricket," Bayliss added.
Bollinger admitted that it will be tough as KKR is on a 13-game win streak.
"I think we just go out there and play the same way we have been. That's how we got to the semis. It's great to be around and three other IPL teams are in it so the guys are pretty confident. I'd like to tell you how it's gonna go but we'll just wait and see until tomorrow," the bowler said.
He agrees that spin bowling is an advantage for Kolkata team. "The guys know what we're up against. That's what we did in training today and we just got to be out there, confident and really just have a go. Thata¿ll be the best way to win and probably be aggressive and hold our heads high and be as confident as we can be and hopefully turn into a big game," Bollinger added.