Auckland Aces v Kolkata Knight Riders, Group A, Cape Town October 14, 2012

Jolted KKR look for turnaround


Match facts

October 15, 2012
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)

Big Picture

The Champions League moves to Newlands in Cape Town, which will host its first game, between Auckland Aces and Kolkata Knight Riders. The IPL 2012 winners, Knight Riders, got off to a terrible start on Saturday, losing heavily to Delhi Daredevils in Centurion. Chasing 161, Knight Riders were reeling at 3 for 3, undone by pace and movement. It was a puzzling decision by the captain Gautam Gambhir, to chase on a ground that heavily favours the team batting first under lights. Five of their batsmen got hit and Delhi's four-man pace attack was too imposing to tackle.

Knight Riders will be up against a team making its debut in the main round of the Champions League. Auckland arrived in South Africa two weeks before the qualifying round to acclimatise and things have gone smoothly for them, with victories in both their qualifying matches. Kyle Mills has been parsimonious - he had figures of 4-1-6-2 against Sialkot Stallions - and Azhar Mahmood has been among the wickets. Sterner tests lie ahead, when they come up against franchise teams that have the best foreign Twenty20 talent.

Watch out for...

Azhar Mahmood demolished Hampshire with bat and ball, becoming only the sixth player to take five wickets and score a fifty in a Twenty20 match. He may not be an international player anymore but he is enjoying a second coming as a freelance T20 specialist. Gareth Hopkins, the Auckland captain, emphasised the experience Mahmood brings to the unit. His game-changing abilities made him an asset during his on-and-off career for Pakistan and, at 37, his skills haven't diminished.

Brendon McCullum began his World Twenty20 campaign with a blazing 123 against Bangladesh in Pallekele - his second T20 international century. His CLT20 campaign wasn't so special though, getting out for a second-ball duck. Knight Riders also lost Jacques Kallis to an injury before he could open his account. If Kallis misses out, McCullum's contributions at the top will be all the more crucial.

Stats and trivia

  • Gautam Gambhir's last five scores in competitive matches, including India games, are 0,8,0,17,45.
  • Manvinder Bisla needs another 44 for 1000 runs in Twenty20s.


"We played badly and it was an embarrassing batting performance. We have the talent and we will come back."
Gautam Gambhir

"Our guys were a step ahead of the opposition in the fielding department and they adjusted to the pitch conditions and the bounce."
Auckland coach Paul Strang

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    so nice, that shakib innnnnn......

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    I can't believe gambit chose to bat. Does he not realize that duckworth Lewis heavily favors team batting 2nd in t20 and the weather looks like rain. He always bats first without even thinking. This decision could cost kkr. Aa will be pleased as I am sure they would have chosen to field first. Aa r just lucky gambit is captaining kkr. All these things add to a likely aa win.

  • Mahafuz on October 15, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    what a no...I am a BD and shakib fan.....happy he is playing......maybe KKR will win too....but bad move to drop lee......r u kidding? southafrica? overcast condition?......when he bowled briliantly last match?......if they wanted shakib they should have dropped brendon......finger crossed....please Balaji don,t have a off day again

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    kkr very good team.

    kkr very good team

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Aces has a good chance to put up a solid competition. With the likes of Mahmood, Guptill, Mills, Hopkins, Vincent n Adams, this team has a good composition to fancy their chances against the KKR. All the best Aces. KKR is one of my favourite teams in CLT20, still today I want Aces to wins. They deserve this coz they cleared the qualification in style. Go ACES GO!!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    Sakib hove to play today...

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    They should play field ryan tendo if kallis is not fit...

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    It is a different ball game playing on turning tracks, unlike the dead Indian pitches. Acclimatization process always gets the least time and precedes before parties & private moments. This, then, shows in their field performances

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Big guns of KKR are not having best of time and i wonder why Sakib is not there as he has the best score among all in KKR in individual last match, scored 84 against the strongest bowling attack of the world. and batting lineup is another issue, tiwari need to be promoted, he is a wonderful cricketer no doubt, looking for more time on the wicket. And magical Bret Lee needs to Strike early to make sure narine and Skib do the rest convincingly.

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    kallis is not the star hasnt been. I find it quite funny. his excuse for batting so slowly in test matches and one day games has been that theres pressure because if he fails, the whole team does. but in t20? theres 20 overs. theres very little time to anchor as is his usual excuse. and on top of it, in an ipl team theres just a whole bunch of people who can score, gambhir,mccullum,sakib, pathan,etc. So if anything, there would be not pressure, he could just express himself in this format. but alas, he just anchors again. so takin little risks, batting at at strike rate of just over a hundred, basically a run a ball, is it any surprise that he makes 30 40 runs a game, close to 400 500 a season of ipl? and then he gets hits for close to 8 runs an over, and takes basically 1 wicket a game lol. is that really world class? pretty much average i think the sa t20 team finally learnt and dropped him down the order in games where quick run scoring is required. he just cant do it regularly.

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