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Knight Riders host Rajasthan Royals in mid-table clash
By IPL desk
Mumbai 12 April 2012
The Kolkata Knight Riders will be relieved that they’ve finally lived up to the billing of serious title contenders. Gautam Gambhir’s boys lost their first two matches, but decimated the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous match and they will be look to build on that victory when they take on Rahul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals in Match 15 of DLF IPL 2012.
The Rajasthan Royals lack the star power of their opponents, but they’ve certainly gone about winning matches silently. They won their first two matches convincingly and then put up a stiff fight in what was seen as an improbable run-chase against the Mumbai Indians. Though they went down, Dravid’s boys will take a lot of positives from their performance in that match.
Friday, April 13, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
In a format like Twenty20, it is imperative that the best batsmen in the team get more time in the middle. And it was therefore important that Gautam Gambhir walked up to open the innings for KKR – as much for scoring big runs as for leading by example.
Brendon McCullum was left out in the previous clash. Given his experience and reputation, it will be interesting to see if KKR can make place for him in the playing 11. The tournament hasn’t seen too much from the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan either; the Baroda lad has only managed 16 runs in three innings, and this could just turn out to be his match.
Ajinkya Rahane has been the most impressive of the young Indian batsman in this IPL season. The Rajasthan Royals opening batsman – who is the current Orange Cap holder – has been a treat to the eyes. He has played shots that are straight out of the coaching manual to score his runs.
Look out for Owais Shah who has looked in good touch in each of the three. His 42-ball 76 gave his team a realistic chance of overhauling MI’s 197 in the previous match. Having found his form early in the tournament, RR will hope he can carry it through the rest of the competition. Previous Meetings
These two teams have met on nine occasions so far, and there’s very little that separates them. Both teams have won four contests apiece, while one fixture ended in a tie after both teams had scored 150 runs at the end of 20 overs. Yusuf Pathan then walked out to bat in the one-over eliminator and scored 17 runs off four deliveries to seal the deal for RR. Trivia
When Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hogg (41 years) took the field in the previous match against the Mumbai Indians, he became the oldest player to debut in the IPL.
Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hodge holds the record the most 50-plus scores in Twenty20 cricket; he’s scored 31 50s in his 142 Twenty20 innings. What next?
After this fixture, the Kolkata Knight Riders will remain at home and prepare to host Kings XI Punjab on April 15, while the Rajasthan Royals will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore – also on April 15.
Match 14 of the DLF IPL 2012 will feature two teams with contrasting fortunes thus far. Kings XI Punjab have struggled to compete and were beaten comprehensively in both their matches. Adam Gilchrist’s team will be glad to be back to familiar surroundings – they will be playing their first home game of the season – and will be keen to open their account.
Sourav Ganguly’s Pune Warriors India meanwhile have won both their games; they first beat the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium and then followed it up with a convincing victory over KXIP in Pune. When
Thursday, April 12, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
For Kings XI Punjab to start competing, their captain Adam Gilchrist needs to start scoring big runs at the top of the order. For a team that doesn’t have many other match-winners, Gilchrist and his fellow Australian David Hussey – who is among the most-experienced cricketers in Twenty20 cricket – need to score the bulk of the runs. They will also need batsmen like Paul Valthaty to play the supporting role.
KXIP will also look to give Azhar Mahmood his first IPL cap; the 37-year old has been in good form with the bat in Twenty20 cricket recently. His 117 Twenty20 appearances coupled with his all-round contribution could just be the boost his side needs.
Pune Warriors India will be glad that their all-rounders are contributing; Marlon Samuels, Robin Uthappa and Steven Smith have been impressive in both the matches so far. Samuels has contributed with both bat and ball in both games, and Uthappa has scored valuable runs and has been very sharp behind the stumps. Previous Meetings
Matches between Kings XI Punjab and the Pune Warriors India have so far been one-sided contests with the latter winning on all three occasions. In the most recent fixture between these teams at the magnificent Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, PWI posted 166 for six batting first, and then restricted their opponents to 144 for eight to emerge victors by 22 runs. Trivia
Adam Gilchrist is one of only two cricketers (the other being Chris Gayle) to have scored two centuries in the IPL.
KXIP’s Azhar Mahmood has received 16 Man-of-the-Match awards in Twenty20 cricket; only Brad Hodge has won more – 17. What next?
Both teams will return to action over the weekend. PWI will hurry back home following this fixture as they are scheduled to host the Chennai Super Kings on April 14. KXIP will take the field on Sunday afternoon when they clash with the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on April 15.