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KXIP have a 50 percent record so far this season, having won two of their four matches. They will want to make the most of the familiarity that comes with playing at home.
Kolkata Knight Riders – a very formidable unit on paper – haven’t quite put on the show that was expected from them. They’ve only won two games out of five so far, and they’ll be keen to settle scores with KXIP after losing the home fixture. When
Wednesday, April 18, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
KXIP skipper Adam Gilchrist has so far had a silent tournament by his standards. The Australian, who is also the coach, wicketkeeper and opening batsman of his team, needs to start firing at the top of the order. The southpaw has so far managed 59 runs in four innings; and him not contributing is certainly hurting his team.
KXIP’s decision to promote David Hussey up the order in the previous match was a welcome move; the Australian is the top run-getter in Twenty20 cricket and has the temperament to adjust to varying situations.
Also look out for Azhar Mahmood who has joined the KXIP squad. The Pakistan cricketer is among the more experienced cricketers in this format, and he could add value to the team – thanks to his powerful hitting skills and for his skiddy medium pace bowling on what is likely to be a seamer-friendly surface.
Gautam Gambhir was very critical of his team’s middle order after they failed to chase down 135 in the previous match. “I'm not happy with the form of the middle order. There are some experienced players who need to start taking responsibility. Otherwise strong decisions need to be taken,” the KKR skipper had said after that defeat.
The biggest disappointment for KKR has been the form of their biggest match-winner, Yusuf Pathan. The elder Pathan – who is capable of winning matches single-handedly – has looked far from the explosive batsmen he’s known to be and has only managed 23 runs in five innings (at a dismal strike-rate of 74.19). Despite his reputation, Yusuf finds himself in the perform-or-perish zone, and this could be his last opportunity. He is likely to come out firing all cylinders.
Sunil Narine has come to be known as somewhat of a mystery bowler. The Trinidadian, who picked up five wickets in the previous match, has been very difficult to pick. He is mixing the various kinds of deliveries in his armory, and has left many batsmen bewildered. It will be interesting to see if the KXIP batsmen have done their homework, and if they manage to pick him this time round. Previous Meetings
There’s very little to choose between the teams on the basis of their previous meetings. Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders have so far met on eight occasions, and both teams have won four contests apiece. Even in their meetings at Mohali, there’s nothing that separates them – KXIP won their home fixture in the inaugural season, while KKR came up trumps in their meeting in the 2010 season. Trivia
KXIP’s David Hussey is the most-capped Twenty20 cricketer in the world; he has appeared in 175 Twenty20 matches.
KXIP's Azhar Mahmood has 16 Man of the Match awards in Twenty20 cricket. Only Brad Hodge - with 18 awards - has won more
Kings XI Punjab will play their second home game in 48 hours when they take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 20. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders will be out of action for the rest of the week and will next be seen in action on April 22 when they take on the Deccan Chargers in Cuttack.
Kings XI Punjab captain says team will be announced after assessing conditions tomorrow
By IPL Staff
Mohali 17 April 2012
Adam Gilchrist, the captain of Kings XI Punjab, said that he hasn’t yet decided who all will be a part of the playing XI ahead of his team’s back-to-back clash with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Speaking at a press conference organized before the KXIP practice session, Gilchrist praised his team’s bowling attack for delivering consistently. The Australian legend also said that he was felling good despite having playing very little cricket in the last few months.
Excerpts from Gilchrist’s media interaction:
On whether there will be any changes to the side:
We’ve not finalized the [playing] XI yet. We’ll assess the conditions tomorrow. It looks like a pretty good wicket, but there is still over 24 hours to go for the match, so we’ll finalise it then.
On Azhar Mahmood:
Azhar Mahmood is with us now, which is good. Obviously, he is in contention – anyone in the squad is in contention. But it’s nice to have him [Azhar Mahmood] with us after a bit of a delay. He is available for selection.
On the good form of KXIP bowlers:
[It’s been an] outstanding effort by the bowlers. The bowlers in all four games have been very committed. Obviously, one match in Pune, there was ten minutes when we let it slip; but as a general rule, the bowlers in all games have been very committed and pretty disciplined. The other night at Eden Gardens was a great performance by all of them. Piyush Chawla [in Kolkata] bowled a match-turning spell. Very calm heads from Praveen [Kumar] and Harmeet [Singh] at the end. But as a rule, everyone contributed very well.
On playing KKR in back-to-back games:
I don’t mind it actually. The opposition is fresh in your mind. You are very aware of them. In T20 cricket, you put time and effort in focusing on each individual match. So the fact that you play back-to-back, means that the research and planning that you do is fresh in your mind for the next game, albeit in different conditions. It worked pretty well for us against Pune [Warriors India]. Although we were defeated in the first game, they were fresh in our mind. We were able to make different choices, and it allowed us to play well. So hopefully, that freshness in our mind will hold us in good stead against Kolkata [Knight Riders] as well. On the ordinary form of Indian batsmen in the side:
You are always looking for a positive start at the top. We haven’t quite had an opening partnership whether it’s been myself or the other opener getting out early. We’re looking to change that. But our batting, as a general rule, hasn’t been too bad. There is no doubt that there are plenty of teams out there who have bigger names – international or Indian – than us. But we are not concerned with that […] I think our batting is scrapped well. We haven’t batted a perfect match or anywhere near a perfect match. So, that’s good incentive for us to [be] striving for. On his own form:
Two starts and two failures – my first four hits in 12 months. I’ve felt pretty good there [in the middle]. Look T20, as we all know, we all want to go at 10-an-over risk free when we bat. But to go at 10-an-over, there has to be risk and sometimes that risk doesn’t pay off. That’s always been the nature of my game. It’s no different in T20. I feel good. I feel I can contribute.