Graeme Smith

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We really have our backs against the wall now

We really have our backs against the wall now, but maybe that's a good thing going into our final league match, against Kolkata Knight Riders, tomorrow. We know we have to beat them to give ourselves a better chance of making it to the semi-finals, and we have shown in the past that we thrive under pressure.

 

We cannot, however, afford to play like we did against the Delhi Daredevils the other night. Ab de Villiers played a really clever knock, adequately backed up by Dilshan - dropping these two key players also did not help our cause - and then Delhi bowled well for nearly 17-18 overs. We should really have tried to defend 130-135 because 150 was always going to be tough to chase. Quiney and I were unlucky in our chase, and to add to that it was unbelievably cold that night - I was freezing my legs off out there!

 

Munaf played a handy innings to bring us close to within 14 runs of the target, and that will go a long way if we need to take the net run rate into account. We are hoping that will not be the case after tomorrow's match. We have to play better and string 40 overs of good cricket together: 15-20 will just not do.

 

Kolkata have been doing all right in their last few matches, and even managed to get it across Chennai on Monday for their second win of the tournament. They seem to be a team on a mission: to go out with a bang, and that is what will make them all the more dangerous tomorrow. They have MacCullum, who is great upfront, and Hussey and Hodge are big hitters as well, but we have a lot of options, both pace and spin, to counter them. We will also need to bat well so that the bowlers will be able to handle them.

 

Besides all the off-field distractions that have definitely affected their focus, I also think that Kolkata have made a tactical mistake by not using Charl Langeveldt from the very beginning. He is a good bowler, both upfront and at the death, and he would have added another level to their performance. It will be interesting to see if they play him tomorrow.

 

We know that their batters can fire so, tactically, we will be looking at a few things to plug the gaps in our side to make things work. As I've said before, we have to be more clinical with both bat and ball, and not be inconsistent. If we perform to the level that we know we can, not many teams can match us despite the fact that there are a few young and inexperienced guys in the side. (Gameplan)

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