|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.
Plays of the Day from the Champions League T20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Perth Scorchers, in Bangalore
Ashwell Prince talks about proving critics wrong, scoring hundreds against Australia, and that unending partnership in Colombo
Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore
The Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Kings XI Punjab and Northern Knights, in Mohali
Cricket should look to not only shore up struggling and emerging cricketing nations but also to export the game with entrepreneurial vigour
West Indies' ODI squad for India is surprisingly light on spin, but the tour is an opportunity for Samuels and Russell to make strong comebacks
Without more fixtures with Full Members, they can't get more funds. Without funds, they can't keep their players
Though derided and sometimes ridiculed, county cricket still holds the key for the future of the game in England and if all involved believed in it just a little more, it could produce an even greater harvest