Kolkata braced for upcoming knock-out phase

Chris Gayle blasted 88 off 42 balls Indian Premier League

Our game against Kings XI Punjab proves that in this format there can be no favourites - it's just about that particular day and those few hours. Punjab had nothing at stake but the loss has really hurt us as a unit. None of us expected to lose the match after putting 200 on the board. Sunday's result has taken away our breathing space and from now on it will be like a knock-out phase for us.

Our bowlers have so far been our strength. In fact, we were working hard to click as a batting unit while the bowlers were working in tandem, restricting opponents around the 170-run mark. Everybody is bound to have a bad day and that's exactly what happened with our bowling unit against Punjab. Only Shane Bond stood out to some extent; everyone else struggled to find rhythm.

Mahela Jayawardene's innings was one of its kind. Whatever he hit, stayed hit. In fact Mahela's effort eclipsed Chris Gayle's explosion with the bat earlier in the match. There has been much talk about the West Indian captain not living up to expectations but I could sense that a big one was just round the corner for him. We had a good start to our innings and in the middle phase Gayle shot up the scoring-rate to a certain level. Even then, one thought, we perhaps missed out on a few more runs at the end. We have dropped crucial catches in this tournament, those that could have shaped a few results for us in a different manner. The missed chance off Mahela did turn out to be the turning point of the match.

Our match against Delhi Daredevils becomes even more crucial in the context of the tournament. We have to win it to stay afloat. This is that phase of the tournament where there will be a few more unexpected results, before a clear picture emerges about the semifinals.

We can take heart from the fact that we came out victorious the last time we played Delhi at Eden Gardens. They were a strong unit then as well but our steely resolve did get us to our desired goal. This time, too, we need to be fearless and, for this last phase of the tournament, the entire unit should stand up to give it one big go. We have not been very consistent in this tournament. Of the five losses in the nine matches the one against Punjab hurt us the most, because we believed we had the game under control after piling up those runs. We have to get over it and I am confident with the team we have we can still pull it off.

(Professional Management Group)