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The Kolkata Knight Riders take on Pune Warriors India in Match 65 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
Kings XI Punjab’s victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore’s at Bengaluru on Tuesday evening meant KKR are still in with a chance while Pune Warriors India will play for pride and have something to cheer about in what has been a dreadful season.
KKR will certainly be more confident of the two teams in the match, given they defeated the higher-placed RCB in their previous match. PWI meanwhile will hope to put the brakes on their nine-match losing streak. PWI have defeated two of the top teams in the competition – Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, but they have failed to build on the confidence from those wins and find themselves at the bottom of the table with just those two wins.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 4 p.m
JSCA International Cricket Stadium, Ranchi
Among the batsmen who will take the field in this match, the ones to watch out for are, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj Singh. Gambhir holds the key to KKR’s fortunes while Robin Uthappa has been PWI’s man-in-form. Yuvraj Singh has been striking the ball well but has not been able to convert starts into big scores, and one can be sure if he gets going he will win the match single-handedly.
Among the bowlers, KKR – with bowlers who take the pace of the ball – have an attack best-suited to the conditions in Ranchi. Sunil Narine picked up four wickets in the previous match against RCB and will be high on confidence. PWI too have a mystery bowler in their line-up; Ajantha Mendis, the original mystery spinner, has had limited opportunities this season and he will be expected to strike big in conditions favourable to spinners.
Kolkata Knight Riders are unbeaten in four matches against the Pune Warriors India. When the two teams met at Pune earlier this season, the visitors posted 152 on the board and then bowled the hosts out for 106 to win by a convincing margin of 46 runs.
Gautam Gambhir holds the record (along with Chris Gayle) for the most 50-plus scores in the IPL – 20. Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa are the most successful opening pair in Pepsi IPL 2013. The pair has an average of 43.91 from 12 matches this season and have been involved in five 50-plus partnerships.
Both teams will next be seen in action on May 19. Kolkata Knight Riders finish their Pepsi IPL 2013 league campaign with an away fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad while Pune Warriors India head back home to finish their Pepsi IPL 2013 season with a fixture against the Delhi Daredevils.
TheKolkata Knight Riders are all smiles after Kings XI Punjab registered a seven-wicket win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday. It has all come down to permutations and combinations in this edition of the IPL and if everything works as per plans of the Knight Riders, they could well get a sniff into that Playoffs spot.
KKR captain, Gautam Gambhir who addressed the media here in Ranchi, when the contest between RCB and KXIP was still underway said, his team would go and look to play professional cricket irrespective of the results of the other matches. “Being a professional cricketer, whenever you walk out on the field you go with a mindset to win,” Gambhir said.
“Irrespective of where we stand on the points table, at the end of the day you want to win a game of cricket. I do not know at what position we will end up at the end of these sixteen games. What is in our hands is to go out there, play professionally and win a game of cricket and we would look to do exactly that against Pune Warriors on Wednesday.”
It has been a dodgy tournament for KKR this season. There have been close finishes, wherein the results have not gone their way and at times the team has failed to click as a unit. Being defending champions there would have been a lot of expectations for them to recreate the same kind of performances like last year, but that has not quite happened for them.
Asked to pinpoint the reasons for KKR’s patchy performance this year, Gambhir said, “It is no guarantee that we will be champions this year because we were champions last year. The important thing is if you do not play consistent cricket, then you will be in the position we are at the moment. If all three departments of the game do not click together, you will not win matches. It is important to complement each other in all departments of the game. If you play inconsistent cricket, the results will not go in your favour.”
KKR will be playing their second game at Ranchi on Wednesday and will look to get a crucial win under their belt. A lot had been spoken about the nature of the wicket and it being low scoring strip.
Gambhir however thought otherwise. “In the last game, RCB scored 115 and the way they played on this wicket, we need to find out what mistakes they made. I do not think it was that bad a wicket that a team can score only 115. I feel it was a wicket where one could score 150. If you do not play good cricket, how can you blame the wicket. It was a normal wicket,” he said.
KKR however trudged their way to their target against RCB, and holding fort was Jacques Kallis who played the perfect anchor in the run chase scoring a patient 41. With an average of just 22 in fourteen innings in the tournament, Kallis has not been at his best.
For Gambhir though, Kallis was never a player out of form. “We never thought Jacques Kallis was ever out of form. For us he is a quality cricketer and if he does not do well with the bat, he backs it up with the ball and vice-versa. He gives us two things straightway and that is what helps as a captain to pick the right combination for the side and the luxury to pick your side. He is a great cricketer and it will never happen that he is out of form with the bat for long,” concluded Gambhir.