|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
The Preview by Siddarth Ravindran
April 29, 2011
Kolkata Knight Riders are the only team of the original eight to have not made the IPL semi-finals but seem to have assembled a squad capable of making it this time. The latest evidence of that came on Thursday against Delhi Daredevils. When their formidable batting stuttered, their bowlers stepped up to pull off a victory that brought their campaign back on track after two successive losses had brought back memories of dismal previous seasons. A win over Kings XI Punjab on Saturday could send them to the top of the table.
Punjab's bowlers have had a week's rest since the pasting they received at Feroz Shah Kotla and now face another tough test as they come up against one of the strongest batting units in the tournament. Adam Gilchrist's side were widely reckoned to be among the weakest before the start of the tournament but they have done surprisingly well so far, partly due to Paul Valthaty's heroics.
The reason Punjab aren't in the top half of the table is that they have only played five matches, while everyone else have played at least seven. "We have to deal with what we are presented with in the schedule," Gilchrist said. "We are very keen to play though it's a little odd to have a full week break and then have nine games in the next 21 days."
Form guide (most recent first)
Kolkata are still searching for a reliable wicketkeeper-batsman to partner Jacques Kallis at the top of the order. Their pool of candidates was reduced when Brad Haddin was ruled out of the tournament with a broken finger. Shreevats Goswami made some runs against Delhi but is yet to cement his spot. Kolkata also need to decide whether to retain the misfiring Eoin Morgan.
Punjab have to sort out their bowling combination. They need to decide which Indian medium-pacer to pick along with Praveen Kumar. Shalabh Srivastava didn't impress in his previous match, which could open the door for either Love Ablish or Vikramjeet Malik.
Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.
In the spotlight
Kolkata brought back left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla for the game against Delhi, which proved a canny decision. With eight wickets, Abdulla is their joint top wicket-taker and his three strikes were instrumental in changing the course of the Kotla match on Thursday.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ishant Sharma has often been the butt of jokes, and sometimes deservedly so. Today, however, the joke was on England
The leave outside off stump has been critical to M Vijay's success since his India comeback last year. Contrary to popular opinion, such patience and self-denial comes naturally to him
They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity
In India's win at Lord's, Ishant Sharma took the best bowling figures by an Indian in the fourth innings of a Test outside Asia. Here are five other best bowling efforts by Indians in the fourth innings of Tests outside Asia
Alastair Cook has got used to feeling of the axe hanging over him. Only his team-mates can save England now
India's wretched run away from home began at Lord's in 2011. A young team full of self-belief may have brought it to an end with their victory at the same venue three years later
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?