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The Preview by Sidharth Monga
May 21, 2011
Sunday, May 22, Kolkata
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Both the teams have got good news even before they start playing their last game. Kings XI Punjab, two points behind them, were the only side that could prevent them from progressing to the play-offs, and they lost to Deccan Chargers to clear the way. That doesn't make this game inconsequential, though. The two teams ahead of them are ahead by just one and two points respectively with one game to play. So Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians will be playing to make it to the elusive top two, for those sides get a second chance even if they lose their first qualifier.
If Chennai Super Kings (18 points) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (17 points) in the preceding game, the winner here will directly make it to the top two. If Bangalore win, though, Kolkata and Mumbai (both at 16 points) will look for a win big enough to take them past Chennai's net run-rate. There is all to play for on the final Sunday of the long and winding IPL.
Form guide (most recent first)
Kolkata Knight Riders: WLWLW (third in points table)
Mumbai Indians LLLWW (fourth in points table)
Now is the time that teams will want to stop experimenting with their combinations. Kolkata, though, will have to wait on Jacques Kallis' fitness, who didn't bat in their win over Pune Warriors on May 19.
Mumbai haven't quite been experimenting too much, and despite three straight losses will feel comfortable with their XI. Except they need a suitable opening partner for Sachin Tendulkar. How they will hope that Davy Jacobs is fit.
Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.
In the spotlight
Deserving owner of the orange cap at one point in the tournament, Sachin Tendulkar has failed to score at more than a run a ball in his last five efforts. His strike-rate over the season has been 107.33. He will want to set the record straight in the final stages of the tournament.
Shakib Al Hasan has been used sparingly by Kolkata, but whenever he's been called on he has made an impact. Nine wickets in five matches is a strike-rate of a wicket every two overs - priceless. Will he be part of their plans in this crucial final stage of the tournament?
"We want to go out there and look to win the next game as they we would have a very bright chance of moving into the second spot in the table, so that's what we will focus on."
Gautam Gambhir sets the agenda for the game
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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