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Shreyas Iyer: 'Need to go back and assess where we are going wrong'

The Kolkata Knight Riders captain says there are "no excuses" for the side's failure with the bat against Delhi Capitals

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer gave "no excuses" for his side's below-par batting performance against Delhi Capitals, admitting not being able to find the right opening combination has been a major concern. He urged his team-mates to play "fearless cricket" and shed their conservative mindset after their fifth consecutive loss this season.
Knight Riders crumbled to 83 for 6 before Nitish Rana's 34-ball 57 helped them to 146 for 9. They pulled things back somewhat in the second half, but Capitals eventually sealed the game with an over to spare.
"We started off really slow and we lost a couple of wickets up ahead," Shreyas told host broadcaster Star Sports after the match. "The wicket was holding a bit at the start. But I still feel that the total was low on this wicket. Obviously, the way we played in the first half, there are no excuses for that. We need to really go back and assess where we are going wrong."
Knight Riders have just three wins from nine games and are only above Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings on the points table. They have tried five different opening pairs this season with little success. Venkatesh Iyer, who found great success last year at the top order, has not been able to strike form and was pushed down the order for the last two games. Aaron Finch and Sam Billings have been in and out with niggles, while the move to open with Sunil Narine didn't work. Ajinkya Rahane, who opened in the first five games, was dropped after a string of low scores. Venkatesh and Finch opened against Capitals but they were dismissed for scores of 6 and 3 respectively.
The opening woes have also caused them to shuffle the batting line-up way more than they would have liked, and, according to Shreyas, that has resulted in the instability.
"It's been really difficult for the last few games because we are not able to set the right opening pair, because there is a lot of chopping and changing happening," he said. "Some of the players are getting injured in between the games so it's really difficult to have a stable batting line-up as well as bowling. I feel when you are playing in this league you need to have the right combination right from the first game. If you click, you can take it ahead from there on."
Apart from the opening pair, losing wickets in heap in the middle order has been another concern but with just five matches left for them in the league stage, Shreyas said Knight Riders would not make too many changes.
"I think we need to stick with what we've got right now. We need to play some fearless cricket and not be very conservative in terms of our decision-making. With five more matches remaining, we need to play our heart out and give everything for the franchise."
And how will he get that message across to his team-mates?
"We need to just tell them to stop thinking [too much], forget about the performance in the past. Just start off fresh and back your instincts. The preparation has been on point by everyone, it's just that the mindset where I feel you need to sit back and think about what I can do right. Be overconfident. Even if you go wrong, it's fine."
Among the positives for Knight Riders this season has been Umesh Yadav, who has bowled well particularly in the powerplay. After picking up nine wickets in the first four games, he did have a few expensive outings. However, he delivered against Capitals, taking 3 for 24 and dismissing Prithvi Shaw, David Warner and Rishabh Pant.
"He started off pretty well, starting with a wicket. After that, he went for 11 runs in an over - the momentum completely shifted towards the opposition. But after that the way he came back and gave me two wickets... He has been one of those guys who has given me the special moments in the game. Whenever I give him the ball, he is ready to do something brilliant. It's really good he has been performing consistently and it's good to have him in the team."

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo