Scorchers look to push IPL champs off the edge
Match factsOctober 17, 2012
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)
Big PictureKolkata Knight Riders and Perth Scorchers - both at the bottom of the Group A table - need a win to keep their chances of making it to the knock-out stage alive. The situation is direr for Knight Riders who have only two games remaining to Scorchers' three.
Knight Riders came into the tournament as a balanced team on paper, but both their batsmen and bowlers have struggled to negotiate the conditions. The result is they have not only lost the two games, they have lost them badly and that reflects in their net run-rate of -1.81. The form of two of their top-order batsmen - Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis - has been worrying. While Gambhir has scored 5 runs in two innings, Kallis is yet to score his first runs in the tournament and that has affected in Knight Riders' ability to put competitive totals. The other concern is that apart from Sunil Narine, no bowler has had any impact. Knight Riders would hope that a change in the venue - Durban - would help them find their IPL form.
The Scorchers had a similar problem in their first game against Titans - they lacked enough contributions. While Nathan Rimmington and Brad Hogg were miserly, other bowlers were taken for plenty as they gave away 163. In their chase, only Mitchell Marsh (52 off 41 balls) showed some intent but he failed to get any support. The Scorchers have experienced T20 openers in Herchelle Gibbs and Shaun Marsh, and one of them will need to contribute as their following batsmen - Marcus North and Simon Katich - aren't exactly known for their big-hitting.
Watch out for...
Herschelle Gibbs was the second highest run-scorer for the Scorchers behind Mitchell Marsh in the Big Bash League with 302 runs. Gibbs was not only consistent during that tournament - he scored four half-centuries and averaged 43.14 - he also maintained a healthy strike-rate of 151.75. Gibbs missed out in the first match against the Titans, but he understands the conditions better than most in either side.
Yusuf Pathan showed glimpses of his ability a few months ago - in the IPL when he hit 40 off 21 balls. In the last outing against Auckland Aces, he stayed unbeaten with 22 runs off 19 balls in testing conditions. Yusuf might find the pace of the Scorchers bowling attack to his liking, as there aren't any tear-away fast bowlers.
Stats and trivia
- Yusuf Pathan is yet to score a half-century for the Kolkata Knight Riders. His top score is 47.
- In eight innings since the start of this season, Shaun Marsh has scored 98 runs.
- Mitchell Marsh has hit 20 sixes in his career with the Scorchers, 13 more than Gibbs who is second in the list.
Quotes"I am not sure how the conditions have changed but there is no doubt that they are going to be a little bit different than we have experienced in Johannesburg and Centurion. Not as much pace and bounce as we get there."
Perth Scorchers' captain Marcus North on the conditions expected in Durban
"We need to play some smart cricket, some better cricket than what we are capable of and try to get the results in our favour."
Knight Riders' captain Gautam Gambhir
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo