Kolkata Knight Riders v Deccan Chargers, IPL 2011, Hyderabad May 2, 2011

Inconsistent Deccan v consistent Kolkata

Match facts

Tuesday, May 3 Hyderabad
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

In the last three years, Kolkata provided moments of hilarity, a chaotic management model, and a sense of pathos. Everything changed this year and here they are hovering at the top. Their batting was solid in the first half of the tournament and their bowlers have won the last two games for them. Brett Lee has sizzled, L Balaji has almost turned the clock back to his past, Iqbal Abdulla has continued his form from the last domestic season, Jacques Kallis has continued to be solid and Yusuf Pathan has been steady and the bowling department has prospered. Three men - Gautam Gambhir, Kallis, and Manoj Tiwary- have tallied over 220 runs, and Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan have not been really required to flex their muscles yet. Things are looking good for Kolkata.

Deccan continue to tease their fans. They win, they lose and that sine-curve has put them in the middle of the table. "It is pretty simple," Kumar Sangakkara said. "We have six games, we have to win five of them to stay alive in this competition. It is a great challenge. We are playing well, but we have to convert that extra 10 or five per cent to try and win a game." Their bowling is getting better but their batting has spluttered. They haven't fired as a batting unit; one or other batsman has sparkled but they haven't clicked as a collective. The greatest debacle has been Cameron White and his continued presence in the playing eleven has raised a few eyebrows.

Form guide (most recent first)

Kolkata: WWLLW (third in points table)
Deccan: L WLWL (seventh in points table)

Team talk

Surely, now, Deccan will drop Cameron White? He has been scratchy and has invariably killed the momentum of the innings. Dale Steyn will come back and JP Duminy is likely to continue in the place of White.

Mark Boucher, who replaced the injured Brad Haddin, didn't get to play in the last game. Will they play Boucher for Sreevats Goswami?

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.

In the spotlight

Manoj Tiwary is slowly proving to be the finisher for Kolkata. He has accumulated 228 runs at an average of 114 and with a strike rate of 113.43. He always had the shots but this season, the shot selections have improved and he has showed an increasing ability, and keenness, to shoulder responsibility. His captain Gautam Gambhir is a happy man: "Tiwary is in very good nick and has matured as a player.The sign of a mature player is to continue what one is doing.When one is immature, one ends up losing form, playing bad shots. Tiwary knows the value of being in good form."

What has happened to Shikhar Dhawan? It's not that he is the most talented domestic batsman out there but he is not as bad as his stats show him to be in this IPL. He has just lasted 130 balls from eight games, despite playing as an opener, and has a 17-run average. He is better than this. Will he manage to engineer a turn around?

Prime numbers

  • Amit Mishra has two ducks in this year's IPL, the second highest after Raiphi Gomez (3) in that inglorious list. With five ducks in all the editions of IPL, Mishra is second behind Warne (6). Deccan's Pragyan Ojha also has five ducks.

  • Jacques Kallis has three fifties this IPL season. He holds the record for most number of fifties (13) in the history of IPL.

The chatter

"[Mark] Boucher is someone who can give us a lot of options. We can bat him up the order and he can be a good finisher as well. He is also a very good wicke-keeper. He has immense international experience. He also has IPL experience.Whatever is the best playing XI, we are going to try them out.."

Gautam Gambhir on his new signee

"Sourav brought luck. He was sitting far away from me, so we could not talk today. But definitely I will talk to him soon ... Even if we don't win this time, I would be okay because this time we are playing well as a team. Gautam (Gambhir) and all the young boys are trying and playing hard."

Shahrukh Khan, the owner of Kolkata franchisee, on spotting Sourav Ganguly at Eden Gardens in their last game

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo