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Royals aware of KKR’s strength and weakness: coach Upton


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Mumbai, May 16: Ahead of their match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on Saturday, Rajasthan Royals (RR) head coach Paddy Upton said their team is well aware of the opposing team's strengths and weaknesses.

The Royals face Knight Riders in a must-win game for both the sides in order to qualify for the play-off stages.

"They (KKR) have a balanced bowling attack. They have some good seamers – Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins. They have got four high quality spinners. So we are fully aware of that. We are also aware of their strengths and weakness. We are fortunate to have such a significant batting line up," Upton said at the pre-match press conference here on Friday.

"We bat down to number nine. Chris Moris, Deepak Hooda and James Faulkner. We are very strong in terms of batting. We have shuffled the batting order as we know Karun Nair is exceptional player of spin bowling and Samson for good player of seam bowling. So we have players who can play both spin and seam bowling well," he said.

After winning five matches on the trot at the start to the season, Royals had a dip in form.

On this, the coach said: "I am quite ok that we dipped a little bit in form. As we have seen that teams who have won the IPL have started their charge for the finals, couple of games after the start, and then they really find the momentum towards the back-end of the tournament. So we are now well placed to find that momentum and carry it on in the rest of the matches."

On Steven Smith leading the side and not Shane Watson, he said: "Smith will be leading the side. The reason has also been said before. Previously he has batted in the middle but this year he has been established as a opening batsman. We have also told him to open the bowling and also at the death."

"And these are the three significant roles in game. Particularly when we are batting second to ask Shane to captain in the death and bowl in the death and in 15 minutes later put the pads on and bat…. it's not necessary to load him like that. We have a captain like the caliber of Steve Smith. So we want to make the best use of our resources, like Smith to captain and Watson to focus on his batting a bowling," he said.

Asked about if there will be a mind game factor playing in do-or-die game against KKR, Upton said: "Every game is a mind game. When you are into a do-or-die game the focus on mind games is bit more. Everyone is crystal clear now, it's significant whether we win or don't win tomorrow. 

"Until now winning a game or not winnings hasn't been that important as there has been always a chance to catch up. So when we get into the knock out situation it's do-or-die and it's a quarter-final for us tomorrow."

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