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KKR assistant coach Doeschate urges 'anti-skill innovations' to counter ruthless batters

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Kolkata, Apr 27 (PTI) Bowlers need to find "innovative ways to execute deliveries with a touch of "anti-skill" to challenge the range-hitting batsmen in the ongoing IPL, reckoned Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach Ryan ten Doeschate.

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Punjab Kings successfully mounted the highest run-chase in T20s when they surpassed Kolkata Knight Riders imposing 261/6 with eight balls and eight wickets to spare in their IPL match at Eden Gardens on Friday.

"The game is almost unrecognisable from 10 years ago when you get past 160 you can almost pack your bag and feel you're going to win the game. Now, you need 160 before the 13th over to have a chance to get a big score," Doeschate said during the post-match media interaction.

Jonnny Bairstow led the chase with a scintillating 108 off just 48 deliveries after Impact Player Prabhsimran Singh set the tone with a blistering 54 off 20 balls.

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After Prabhsimran's exit, Shashank Singh provided a helping hand with an unbeaten 28-ball 68 in a match that witnessed a record 42 sixes in total.

The former Dutch allrounder, who was part of KKR's 2014 title winning side, emphasised the need for bowlers to adopt unconventional tactics by bowling "anti-skill," in order to be successful in the face of aggressive batting strategies.

"You want to bowl with anti-skill. I think, you know, short and wide really works, dragging guys wide and then going straight." Citing the example of Sam Curran dismissing Phil Salt, he said: "You almost need to catch guys off-guard a little bit like Sam Curran caught Phil Salt off-guard. Set off-side field, he dragged him across and then fire one at leg stump." "We have to come up with innovative ways. We have to keep changing literally ball by ball. I don't think you can bowl two balls the same. I don't think you can bowl bowlers back-to-back anymore unless they really have a grip on the game.

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"It's all in the batter's favour. The challenge and the upside for bowlers to not punch back is really there," he added.

The previous record chase in T20 was by South Africa against the West Indies in Centurion in 2023 when they overhauled 259 in 18.5 overs.

In IPL, both the record chases now have come against KKR in the space of 10 days at the same venue of Eden Gardens.

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KKR had failed to defend 223/6 with Jos Buttler smashing a 55-ball century to pull off the heist on April 16,.

Dismissing any bowling concern, the KKR assistant coach said there was no point in crying about it as they would have to quickly recover.

"We're not concerned, but bowling with the new ball and bowling seam, and everything in Kolkata is really tough, and we need to find a way to do better.

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"There's two ways you can look at it. You can step back and say, oh, it's unfair, we're bowling machines, or you can say, we are going to find a way and try new things and embrace the challenge "It's going to be tough, we're going to get panned all over the show, but you have to find innovative ways. We've got four weeks left, it's going to be around for at least that long, there's no point crying about it.

"I feel sorry for the bowlers, I think it's gone even more towards that (batting) side, but those are the realities, and my way of going about it would be to find a way to land a punch back to the batter as quick as possible." Giving an update on their premier pacer Mitchell Starc, Doeschate said the Aussie left-arm quick may need one or two games to return.

KKR next face Delhi Capitals here on Monday, before taking on Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants in two successive away games.

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"As far as I know, he's very close to being back, which will either be the next game or the game after," he said.

Impact Sub an opportunity: Prabhsimran ============================= Punjab Kings opener Prabhsimran, who came in as an Impact substitute for Arshdeep Singh and blazed his way to his maiden fifty of the season, termed the rule as an opportunity for him.

"I see this as an opportunity for a youngster," said the diminutive opener.

On the record chase, he said: "We just wanted to cash in on the power play and carry the momentum forward." For PBKS, the inclusion of Bairstow paid off as he returned to form in style.

"He is such a big player, we all know what he's capable of. In cricket, you just take one match to recover from your bad form and you saw that today how he dominated the bowlers and struck a century," added Prabhsimran. PTI TAP UNG

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