Pune Warriors v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2011, Navi Mumbai May 18, 2011

Ganguly goes up against Kolkata


Match facts

Thursday, May 19, Navi Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Going into their last two league games, Kolkata Knight Riders' task is not as clear as they would like it to be: if Kings XI Punjab lose their last game, Kolkata can make the play-offs even if they lose both their matches. If Punjab win, though, Kolkata might need two wins to be assured of a spot in the final four. Sourav Ganguly - the biggest player to emerge from Kolkata and a name that was synonymous with their franchise until the most recent player auction - has a chance to stop them. It happens only in the IPL.

Yet, both Ganguly and his team-mates at Pune Warriors will know that they go in as rank outsiders. Kolkata have been consistent through the season, with their big-ticket players pulling their weight at different stages. The domestic Indian players have played their part too, especially Iqbal Abdulla and Manoj Tiwary. Pune, on the other hand, are out of contention after suffering an early-season slump that spanned seven successive losses. Ganguly looked like a batsman who hadn't held a bat in 12 months in his first outing, and fell for a duck in his second. Does Pune's campaign have a sting in its tail? Kings XI Punjab will be hoping it does, since a Kolkata defeat will keep their chances alive.

Form guide (most recent first)

Kolkata: LWLWW (fourth in points table)
Pune: LWWLL (ninth in points table)

Team talk

Kolkata have seemed keen to open with Eoin Morgan, though the move has had little success. Morgan is not with the team anymore, and Shakib Al Hasan might be the one coming in for him. Given the lack of muscle in the middle order - excluding Yusuf Pathan - Gautam Gambhir might consider moving himself up the order.

Pune will mull over the option of replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar with Shrikant Wagh, who was impressive at the DY Patil in the initial part of the season. Will Ganguly continue to play at No. 3?

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

In the spotlight

Time is running out for Robin Uthappa to deliver returns on the tremendous investment Pune made on him. He has scored 252 runs in 12 innings, but has not produced a single half-century. He has paraded all his shots this season, without displaying the right kind of shot-selection.

Brett Lee has set up a few sparkling mini-battles with Uthappa in the past - a league match in the 2007 CB series, and a 2010 IPL fixture being the most notable. There's something irresistible about a contest between a fast bowler who likes to bowl straight, and a batsman who likes to hit it back, just as straight. Who will triumph when they clash on Thursday?

Prime numbers

  • Kolkata haven't hit enough sixes this year. Tiwary, with 12, is their leading six-hitter but he is only 14th on the overall list. Yusuf has only managed 11.

  • Rahul Sharma is the third-highest wicket-taker this season, with 16 wickets. He has also been the most economical bowler (5.33 per over) among those who have at least six wickets.

The chatter

"We need one win from two games and that's all I will be telling the team. I'm not obsessed with the points table. Our priority right now is to get the two points on Thursday."
Can Pune deny Gautam Gambhir the two points he seeks?

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jatinder on May 19, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    m really sick of watching tv channels saying dada ll revenge on kkr.come on pune just signed ganguly 2 increase their fan base..he is past his prime...and a very gud decision by kkr not 2 retain him..dnt knw why ppl r so mad abt him he cant bat at strike rate more dan 110 or so and he has failed 4 kkr last 3 seasons...it was gud if he hd accepted role of mentor ..sad 2 see his plight

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    @Chinmay: paying Gambhir huge some to take revenge on Dada? lol.. this is the mother of all silly accusations..lol.. I hope u are kidding! Waving Srilankan flag? when did that happen?? sorry mate, I tried googling it.. cant find any links! more over SRK didnt attend the WC final - fyi!

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    GR8 2 SEE shakib BACK! GO ON SHAKIB.... WE R PROUD OF U!

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    If IPL has a sign for highest run getter and wicket taker..then they need to introduce another sign in IPL that is THE LAMEST PERFORMER ...EOIN MORGAN definitely a good contender...khek khek khek u know i just feel to laugh so loud when i see a team combination of KKR and i become worried when i think their management and get thrilled that how come a guy wasting so much money every year though he has self pride for his money and he has a lot....this year i am for sure waiting to see KKR down..guys will get my anger when u will find me a BANGLADESHI...one thing i would suggest to IPL franchisers that better u don't buy any Bangladeshi player but dont neglect or insult their talent after getting them in the tournament.... may be u have a lot money but we have self respects....

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    The major reason why KKR losing its fame is the attitude of King Khan.Some of them are like Removing Dada/Wanted Pak players/Paying a huge amount to Gambhir to take revenge on Dada/ Commenting on Gavaskar/Holding Srilankan flag in final match. More over he feels like he represents the minorities. Some how I felt his behavior is just like Sidhartha Mallaya.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    KKR team should be: 1 Gambhir 2 Kallis 3 Manoj 4 Yusuf 5 Shakib 6 Ryan Deschote 7 Sribatsa 8 Bhatia 9 Lee 10 Abdulla 11 Balaji

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    I sincerely believe that Dada is way past his best and should call it a day.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    For all the guys who want Shakib al hasan in the playing XI the reason he is not there is coz kolkata need a balanced batting in their middle order,and hasan is pretty expensive in his bowling considering they have abdulla and yusuf as spin options,they are doing a decent job.Most of the surfaces KKR have played on they can do with these two.I would really like to see Ryan Ten Doeschate get a look in ahead of Morgan though.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    @ ChinkiMonki: is it a written rule tat ur not supposed to support KKR if dada is not tere...wat if somebody is a fan of say gambhir wants kkr to win..nothin wrong in tat...

  • shameem on May 19, 2011, 13:07 GMT

    Want to see Tendo playing for Morgan -- not Shakib (sorry guys, although I'm his fan) --- can't support KKR without Ganguly -- like MI supporters probably support MI if Sachin is ignored. But is Shakib plays then will support Shakib not KKR. So my equation is "KKR minus Shakib is equal to Pune's win" -- hope to see that happens tonight.

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