KKR face Somerset in rematch
Kolkata Knight Riders v Somerset, September 24
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Kolkata Knight Riders and Somerset will meet for the second time in five days. During the qualifying stage, they were involved in a strange game where despite Somerset winning by 11 runs it was Knight Riders celebrating at the end. They had qualified, along with Somerset, as the best second-placed team from the two qualifying groups.
Given the nature of Twenty20 cricket that win might mean little when the teams met again, but Knight Riders will be increasingly aware that their top order is consuming far too many balls to produce too few runs. Even Yusuf Pathan, on paper their most dangerous player, has struck at less than a run-a-ball in his two scores of 12 in the qualifying round.
Somerset came to this tournament without three key batsmen and would have felt a little bitter that their 21-year-old star Jos Buttler did not even get a bat for England in the first Twenty20 against West Indies. Craig Kieswetter's aggressive half-century in the same match, though, would have reminded them of what they can achieve once the two join them. Their bid to qualify for the main draw was helped by some tight bowling and outstanding fielding, with Roelof van der Merwe seeming to pop up everywhere with athletic stops or catches.
These are the two weaker teams in their group, which also contains South Australia, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Warriors, so a loss for either would leave them with an uphill climb to reach the semi-finals.
Watch out for ...
Ryan ten Doeschate came to Knight Riders with a big reputation after having done well in Twenty20 competitions in England and New Zealand, and having scored a century against England in the World Cup. He only had three innings in the previous IPL, but showed he can play the role of a finisher when he helped Kolkata qualify with a quick 46 against Somerset.
Roelof van der Merwe is a player perfectly suited to the Twenty20 format. He bats aggressively, bowls flat left-arm spin that is hard to take for runs and saves 10-15 runs every innings in the outfield. Without Marcus Trescothick, Kieswetter and Buttler, van der Merwe has occupied the No. 3 spot during the tournament and may need to play a longer innings than he is used to in order to help his team.
Somerset will have left-arm spinner George Dockrell back for their first match in the main draw, as Ireland have completed their Intercontinental Cup fixtures against Canada. The man he replaces in the squad, legspinner Max Waller, had impressed in the qualifiers, taking 1 for 18 in four overs against Auckland and bagging two wickets against Kolkata. So there will be pressure on the 19-year-old Dockrell to repay Somerset's faith in him. Wicketkeeper Steve Snell and seamer Lewis Gregory will leave once Kieswetter and Buttler arrive in India, so they will want to make use of this chance in the international limelight.
Gautam Gambhir, who suffered a concussion during India's Test series in England, is expected to play at some stage during the tournament, but whether he will be available for the game against Somerset is not clear. Brad Haddin has arrived from Sri Lanka but ten Doeschate's performance in the last game and the effectiveness of Shakib Al Hasan's spin on the slow Hyderabad wicket means he is not guaranteed of a place in the XI.
Stats and trivia
- Kolkata Knight Riders have not reached a score of 180 since the 2010 season of the IPL. The 222 they managed in their first game, in the 2008 IPL, is still the highest total for the franchise.
- Somerset have lost just one of the last eight Twenty20 matches they have played, though that match was the Friends Life t20 final.
"It's frustrating, obviously, but it's pleasing personally that I did all I could do while I was out here. I knew I wasn't going to stay for the main event if we qualified, so I wanted to do what I could do and help us qualify."
Max Waller is disappointed to be going home before the main tournament begins
"I sometimes get a bit tied up against spin. But I have made it a point to watch the ball closely and it has helped. I do like to get after the spinners and I think that is the best way to play them."
Ryan ten Doeschate gives notice of his intent against the slow bowlers
Dustin Silgardo is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo