Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2012, Mohali April 17, 2012

Will Gambhir have reason to smile?

Match facts

Wednesday, April 18, Mohali
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Three days after they failed to chase 132 after having been 73 for 2 at home against Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders run into the same team again, this time in Mohali. The Eden Gardens game was Knight Riders' to lose; they went ahead and and somehow contrived to lose it, failing to get 13 off the final 12 deliveries. It was one of those Knight Riders defeats that just happened though they had no business getting defeated. There are numerous sides that fail to win from strong positions, but the underachievers tag has stuck particularly hard to Knight Riders, not least due to the many big players they have.

The slow and turning Kolkata pitch has worked against them twice in three games now; even in the third match, they had to work hard to get past Rajasthan Royals. A change of venue and wicket would be welcome for the visitors. However, the Kings XI medium-pacers, led by Dimitri Mascarenhas, proved difficult to get away on the Mohali pitch against Pune Warriors.

Players to watch

Gautam Gambhir was livid after the loss to Kings XI in Kolkata, saying that his batsmen needed to play "intelligent cricket." Strong decisions would be taken unless players started performing, Gambhir said. Gambhir hasn't exactly done that himself so far, apart from a 64 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. That innings set up Knight Riders' first win of the season after consecutive losses. Gambhir needs to show his misfiring team-mates the way again.

While Gambhir has at least one match-winning innings so far, his counterpart Adam Gilchrist has failed to get going. The retired Gilchrist plays only in the IPL, which makes it only more difficult for him at the start of the season. The sooner he finds some form, the better for his side.

Stats and trivia

  • Of the eight old IPL franchises, Knight Riders' win-loss ratio of 0.78 is the second-worst, after Deccan Chargers' 0.67
  • Mandeep Singh is the only Kings XI batsman to have made more than 100 runs so far this season

    Quotes

    "He is a hard worker. He is a terrific young man. I'm just trying to create the environment that he is comfortable to be a part of and that he knows the specific role that he has got.."
    Adam Gilchrist on Kings XI's hero of the previous game, Harmeet Singh

    "He's a match-winner. He can turn a match in a blink of an eye. We are showing confidence in him. He's got the full support of everyone in the team. Everyone knows what a devastating player he can be. It's only a matter of time before he wins us that game."
    Knight Riders' coach Trevor Bayliss on Yusuf Pathan

    Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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