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Match 47 of DLF IPL 2012 will be a severe test of Kolkata’s loyalties. While the Kolkata Knight Riders (the home team) will be one of the teams in action, their opponents, the Pune Warriors India, will be led by Sourav Ganguly – the most famous cricketer to emerge from this part of the country.
The fortunes of the two teams are almost opposite to each other. The Kolkata Knight Riders sit second in league standings with 13 points from ten matches, while the Pune Warriors India are second from the bottom of the table and have eight points from 11 matches. KKR have been unbeaten for five matches, while PWI have lost four in a row and will be looking to arrest their slide in this contest.
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 04:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The two players who’ve had the biggest influence on Kolkata Knight Riders’ success this season are skipper Gautam Gambhir and spinner Sunil Narine. Gambhir has been KKR’s best batsman by a mile, while Jacques Kallis is the team’s second-highest run-getter and has scored half as many runs as his captain. Narine has done his job not only by picking up wickets, but by also strangling the opposition batsmen. The Trinidadian has picked up 12 wickets from seven matches and has only conceded runs at an economy rate of 5.53.
Though Robin Uthappa (323 runs in 11 matches) features in the list of top ten run-getters this season, he hasn’t quite made the impact that was expected from him. He will need to fire at the top of the innings, and hope the likes of Steve Smith (who has been very impressive in finishing the innings), Jesse Ryder and Michael Clarke can make bigger contributions. Keep an eye on Sourav Ganguly too; the PWI skipper is sure to have the crowd support behind him, and if he can turn in a special performance, it will only put his team in the driver’s seat.
Ashok Dinda has been PWI’s best bowler; like his skipper, he too will be playing on home turf – albeit for the visiting team – and will be keen to make a point or two in front of his home crowd.
In the only previous meeting between these KKR and PWI at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai last season, the former registered a convincing seven-wicket victory. After restricting PWI to 118 for seven in their 20 overs, KKR – powered by skipper Gautam Gambhir’s 54 – chased down the target in 16.4 overs.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have the best overall bowling economy rate among the nine teams in IPL 2012 – 6.92.
Pune Warriors India have lost 11 wickets to run-outs this season – the most by any team in IPL 2012.
Following this fixture, the Kolkata Knight Riders will travel to the national capital to take on the Delhi Daredevils on May 7. Ganguly and his boys will head back home to host the Rajasthan Royals on May 8.
KKR captain downplays much-anticipated contest against Sourav Ganguly’s PWI
By IPL Staff
Kolkata 04 May 2012
As the Kolkata Knight Riders get set to play the Pune Warriors India, the city of Kolkata is ecstatic at the prospect of hosting one of its favourite sons, Sourav Ganguly. Gautam Gambhir, the captain of KKR, on the other hand, preferred to downplay the much-awaited clash, saying it was just another match for his side where they would look to give their 100 percent. Excerpts from Gambhir’s interaction with the media:
On the much-anticipated game against PWI:
For me, it's just another game of cricket. It's only important till a certain extent. To win a game, you need to play well on that given day. We will approach [it] the same way as we have approached all the other games. If we play to our potential, we will be the side to look out for. […] We have got a lot of quality. We should be 100 percent ready to fire and go tomorrow. On KKR’s bowling department:
It's not only the spinners who have done a job for us. [Jacques] Kallis did a tremendous job for us in the last match here. Everyone's done a great job for us. But you need to fire in all the three departments. We have been fielding well. There have been times when we did not bat well, but if you see the overall performance, we have done well in all the three departments. But still, there are a lot of games to go. [I] hope we maintain the momentum.
On what would be a winning score:
I don't know. I don't predict things. If we bat first, we will try to get as many as we can. And if we bowl, then we will try to restrict the opposition. For me, no total is safe or no total is less as well. We need to go out there and play to the potential.
On some of the PWI players struggling with their form:
As I said, we are not playing against individuals; we are playing against a team. If individuals are struggling, that does not make them a lesser force. Any one of them can fire with the ball or bat, and can win the game. If one or two are struggling, it's not going to make any difference. We need to concentrate on what we are doing well. That's how matches are won. Individuals can only contribute. It's the 11 people who contribute and win a game of cricket. Any team can win.
On the injury status of the KKR side:
[We have] no injury worries. All of us are raring to go.
On KKR’s batting concerns:
Let's talk about the team performances rather than the individual ones. KKR is not about Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir or Jacques Kallis. KKR is about what we have done as a team. I am not concerned with any form or anything. I'm pretty happy with the performance till now and that's what we are looking to do in future as well. On the finishers in the side:
We have got some finishers. We have got a lot of depth in our batting. Someone will get the opportunity to finish the game tomorrow as well. It's not how you start; it's about how you finish as well. On Wasim Akram reportedly having likened the contest to an India-Pakistan encounter:
That's his perspective of tomorrow's game. For me, it's another game of cricket. There is nothing so-called India versus Pakistan. We are playing against Pune Warriors [India] and there is no such rivalry as Pakistan. India and Pakistan is a completely different ball game. It's just the media that is creating the hype. It's Wasim's way of looking at the game tomorrow.
Captains are only as good as its team. Captain does not win games. It's just the planning that they do. It's the 11 men on the field that contribute. [The] Captain can only be successful if you have the people to execute those plans. It can be a failure as well if you don't have the people to execute them.