IPL 2017: KKR could finish on top after clash against MI, says bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji

Kolkata: Two-time former champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) may have suffered three losses in four matches, but bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji was full of positivity and on Saturday said his side would aim to finish as table toppers in the IPL.

Having become the first team to make the cut, the outcome of the match won't affect Mumbai, but Kolkata need to win to take their tally to 18, same as their opponents and remain in contention for a second-place finish.

"I look at it the other way around. We may get to number one. That's also possible," said Balaji on the eve of their last round match against table leaders Mumbai Indians.

File photo of Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji. Getty Images

File photo of Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji. Getty Images

"You normally live your life with circumstances and opportunities. I think the opportunity decides who yo are and where you come from and what you're doing. Everything is decided by the circumstances and the situations. There's another opportunity to decide where we are heading towards in this tournament," he said in a philosophical tone.

KKR have the poorest record against Mumbai, having lost four matches in a row against Mumbai in a lopsided 5-14 overall record, but Balaji hoped for a new beginning come Saturday.

"When you play eight teams there will definitely be one extreme to another. In the past there's always a new beginning with opportunity. There will be another opportunity which may change the future. That opportunity is up to us decide."

Balaji pointed out that his side were bonding well, a key ingredient to get success.

"We have been in a good space within ourselves, enjoying each other's company, the friendship, the cultural exchanges, all these things are important in a tournament where you are out of house and family for six weeks. It's important to have a binding team," he said.

He said all their bases are covered and they have a strong bench strength.

"We have found our ways to manage our ways to position right now. We had a little bit of hiccups with individual injuries but I think the team has showed character."

KKR failed to chase a modest 168 to go down to Kings XI Punjab in their last match.

"We have defended low totals as well as chased down big totals. The team has done well in majority of games," Balaji said.

"I'm sure in rest of the games there will not be big changes in our brand of cricket. We will stick to what we can control and what comes to us naturally."

Their middle and lower order may be misfiring but Balaji said their batting was not a matter of concern.

"This batting unit is one of the most experienced. As far as I know five guys getting more than 220 runs is good enough number to have a batting order with," he said.

"It's only 120 balls to define. Whatever amount of positivity you do it on field is very important. Every match is a new beginning."

On the injury update to pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, Balaji said: "It's up to medical staff to decide. I will reserve my comments on that.

Updated Date: May 13, 2017 16:47 PM

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