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Gautam Gambhir’s team was slow to get off the blocks. They lost their first two matches to the Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals. But they have since discovered their form, and have beaten the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rajasthan Royals in their return fixture.
Kings XI Punjab’s fortunes haven’t been to dissimilar to KKR; they lost to the Rajasthan Royals and the Pune Warriors India in their first two matches, but won their home fixture against the Pune Warriors India.
Sunday, April 15, 2011, 04:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
KKR’s decision to drop Brendon McCullum has meant the inclusion of Manvinder Bisla and his elevation to the top order. The 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has impressed in both his outings so far; he scored 46 against RCB and followed it up with a run-a-ball 29 against RR. In a competition where the turnaround time between matches is next to nothing, it is important that the men in form continue to perform. Hence KKR will be hoping that Bisla continues to score runs.
From what we have seen so far, batsmen have found it next to impossible to decipher the KKR spinner Sunil Narine. The 23-year-old came into the tournament with quite a reputation, and he has certainly shown he is something special in the two matches he’s played so far. With several tricks up his sleeve, and on a spinner-friendly surface, he could run through sides on his day.
There’s a lot of pressure on Adam Gilchrist’s shoulders. Apart from being the wicketkeeper, the Australian is captain-cum-coach of the team, and he’s also the team’s premier batsman. He, along with Shaun Marsh and David Hussey, needs to start scoring big runs if KXIP are to compete. Previous Meetings
In seven previous meetings between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, the former hold a slight edge with four victories. In the three matches at the Eden Gardens too, KKR hold an edge – having won twice, including in the game last season.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have an outstanding record in run chases at the Eden Gardens; they’ve won nine matches out of 11 when they’ve had to chase. What next?
Both teams will square off yet again on April 18 when the Kolkata Knight Riders travel to Mohali for their away fixture.
RCB off-spinner says his team needs to move on after CSK loss
By IPL Staff
Bengaluru 14 April 2012
In the three matches he has played so far in IPL 2012, Muttiah Muralitharan has picked up eight wickets at an economy-rate of 6.41. The wily old Sri Lankan off-spinner has shown that he still has the ability to win matches for his team. His brilliant return catch in the last match against the Chennai Super Kings showed that his reflexes are still as sharp as ever. But the highest wicket-taker in international cricket is not taking anything for granted, especially his place in the playing 11 of the strong Royal Challengers Bangalore team.
Ahead of RCB’s home game against the Rajasthan Royals, Muralitharan spoke to the media on various issues, including his performance and his team’s composition. Excerpts:
On the last-over loss against CSK in the previous match
Every team plays 16 games and no one wins all of them. Whoever has better momentum, will qualify for top-four. All we need to do is forget the last match and look ahead and prepare for the coming games.
On whether he expected to be in the playing 11 in all matches right from the beginning
I didn’t expect to play from game one itself because RCB were a settled team from the last season, when they finished as the runners-up. But the opportunity was created for me because [Tillakaratne] Dilshan was playing Test cricket and [Chris] Gayle got injured. I grabbed it with both hands. I’ll keep fighting for my place because there’s no guarantee of being in the playing 11. I’ll have to keep on performing.
On whether the lack of a fifth bowler is hurting RCB
You can’t have specialist fifth and sixth bowlers because you also need to balance the side. In the last game, we had some injuries in our team and couldn’t play a certain bowlers. But once Gayle starts bowling, we’ll have more options in our bowling. On Chris Gayle’s fitness
Gayle is 100 percent fit. He was cramping in the last game because of the Chennai heat, and we didn’t want to risk him with bowling. Also, he’s just recovered from a groin injury, and hence we want to be completely sure before thrusting him into bowling. On whether different amount of money paid to everyone plays on the players’ mind
Once you step on the field, money doesn’t matter. A player’s value is not decided by the money he’s paid, but the way he performs on the field. Franchise owners have different ideas and strategies to buy players and they pay them accordingly. If a world-class player goes for USD 100,000, it doesn’t mean that is his value. It’s just that the franchise thinks that’s what he is worth in the T20 format. Nobody gets disheartened because of that. When we step on the field, every player just wants to win it for RCB.
On playing cricket after international retirement
I feel I could have played international cricket for a few more years. But then, I thought I have achieved enough and it would be wise to retire when on top, after the 2011 World Cup. But I’ve been playing T20 cricket in various countries, and will continue to do so. I’m getting the opportunities now, and I want to make the most of them. I don’t want to regret in the future that I could’ve played a bit longer.