South African veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis says Kolkata Knight Riders can ill afford a poor start in the 2014 Champions League Twenty20, the main rounds of which get under way in Hyderabad on Wednesday evening. KKR play Chennai Super Kings in a clash of giants as 10 teams vie for honours. The final match will be played in Bangalore on October 4. (Live Blog of Tournament Opener)
KKR and their skipper Gautam Gambhir made poor starts to their Indian Premier League campaign earlier this year. Gambhir started with a hattrick of ducks and managed 1 in his fourth outing as KKR lost to Delhi and Kings XI Punjab, tied against Rajasthan Royals and went down to Chennai in Ranchi when the tournament moved to India from the UAE. (Also read: Defending champs Mumbai fail to qualify)
"The Knights cannot afford another slow start. We played catch-up cricket for a long time after a horrible beginning to the IPL but there will be no chance to do that here," wrote Kallis in his column in the Times of India on Wednesday. (Also read: Mumbai's batting missed spark, says Pollard)
In spite of the poor start, KKR won a record nine matches on-the-trot to win IPL7.
"It's (Champions League Twenty20) a sprint rather than an IPL marathon and the fast starters always have an advantage in a sprint," wrote Kallis, who is no longer an international cricketer.
Without a few key players, KKR will be under pressure to make a winning start. But given the short format of the game, Gambhir will back his home-spun talent to make a mark. Chennai lead 9-5 in head-to-heads against KKR.