Kolkata Knight Riders v Pune Warriors, IPL 2012, Eden Gardens

Ganguly returns to Eden as opposition

The Preview by Devashish Fuloria

May 4, 2012

Comments: 105 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Saturday, May 5, Kolkata
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)


An emotional fan runs into the field to touch Sourav Ganguly's feet during his comeback innings, Deccan Chargers v Pune Warriors, IPL 2011, Hyderabad, April 10, 2011
Kolkata fans' dilemma - Sourav Ganguly or home team? © AFP
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Big Picture

Although it is just one of the IPL's innumerable league games, the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Pune Warriors at Eden Gardens has attracted special attention because of one player. Sourav Ganguly is coming home, ironically as captain of the away team. He is capable of rousing the passionate Eden Gardens crowd to feverish levels; his iconic status in Kolkata is comparable to Sachin Tendulkar's in Mumbai. Ganguly's return is expected to test the loyalties of the fans: home team or local legend?

If the India-South Africa ODI in 2005 is any indicator, Knight Riders could find parts of Eden Gardens cheering the opposition captain. Back then, during the height of the Ganguly-Chappell fracas, India were booed because Ganguly had been dropped from the squad. He was snubbed in the 2011 auction by Knight Riders and a similar scenario this time is not improbable, but passions may have cooled like Ganguly form has waned.

Ganguly, and Warriors, need all the inspiration they can get. They are second from bottom in the league, having lost six out of their previous seven games. In their most recent loss, to Mumbai, Warriors failed to chase 121, with Ganguly struggling to 16 off 24 balls. However, any revival against the most economical bowling attack this season will require resolve: Sunil Narine, the Knight Riders spinner, has taken 12 wickets and has an economy of 5.53, the second best after Lasith Malinga. But Warriors' hopes lie in plotting the fall of Knight Riders' batting, which has lacked substantial contributions from everyone except Gautam Gambhir. With another Bengal cricketer, Ashok Dinda, back to fitness Warriors' bowling attack is better equipped to trouble Knight Riders.

The home team has been in good form coming into this game - four wins in a row - and they would aim to stay close to Delhi Daredevils at the top of the table. The stage is set for Ganguly's homecoming but fans will need to hope that the weather stays clear.

Form guide

(most recent first, completed games)

Pune Warriors: LLLLW
Kolkata Knight Riders: WWWWL

Players to watch

Gautam Gambhir, the Knight Riders captain, has scored 365 runs with four half-centuries, and he has done it at strike-rate of 143.70, while his other hard-hitting teammates have struggled to force the pace.

Michael Clarke is new to the Warriors camp but he is expected to turn things around for a struggling team. He looked comfortable in his first two two games, but he will want to convert those starts. His class against spin could be key to negotiating a tricky Knight Riders attack.

Stats and trivia

  • Sourav Ganguly has scored 496 runs in IPL matches in Kolkata at an average of 41.33. In IPL 2010 alone he scored 331 at an average of 55.16.
  • Yusuf Pathan has hit 77 sixes in his IPL career. However, only three of them have come this season.
  • Knight Riders' bowling is the most economical this season, giving away only 6.79 runs per over. Warriors are fourth with an economy of 7.61.

    Quotes

    "Any match at Eden Gardens is my home match"
    Sourav Ganguly

    "If we're winning without him contributing much, it's a good sign for the team"
    Gautam Gambhir on Yusuf Pathan's poor batting form.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by dmqi on (May 5, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

Ganguli will loose for sure and it will end his charisma, if anything left. Poor form and poor team selection.

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

I hope both Shakib and Tamim will play today, waiting to see a nail biting match !

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

TAMIM IS GOOD BATSMAN ...............IN THE WORLD

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

Back in 2005 I had told that Ganguly should be kept as 12 player in Indian team, fake an injury for a playing player and let him be a substitute , where he will captain the team superbly, ya really superb way. After all these years my mind still says the same but now for Pune lol. Dont know what ICC will tell about this

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

What is the problem with Shakib Al Hasan is Kolkata??...... Is he not better than Brendon McCullum, Ryan Ten Doesathe, or Bret Lee regarding the economy rate, wicket taking ability and batting average??..........why Kolkata is not interested to play him??..... They should know he is the number one All rounder in the world right now whether in ODI/T20/Test macth....... And what about Tamim Iqbal??. I think he is far better than any other batsmen pune is playing now.........

Posted by AusieBangaleeShameem on (May 5, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

@Sourav Mishra --- for your kind information from NZ Cricket ---- your best cricketer McCullum (My dear Kalam Miya) has been left out (rested??) from NZ cricket team both ODI and T20.

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

High time Tamim get's a chance for Pune right? Not saying this because i am his fan but basing my suggestion on mere stats and figures. I mean look at Jesse Ryder, he plays a few good shots and then gets back to the pavillion without even reaching a double figure in numerous occassions. If given that many chances, I bet even my grandma can hit a half-century. Moreover, he was never that great a player like Mccullum on the other side who can be gambled with. Thus I believe, Tamim should be given a go, atleast ONCE~

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

Good Point Bismoy. PWI Lost their previous two matches Becoz of Gunguly Batting Strike Rate. Against Deccan, chasing 187 he faced 40 balls for 45 runs... against mumbai 16 of 24 balls.

Posted by Rajeev129 on (May 5, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

I dont like KKR and Ganguly in general. But really looking forward to see the crowd's response in this game. Hoping that Ganguly will pick a crucial wicket like he did in Delhi and run around the Eden boundary .

Posted by   on (May 5, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

tamim should replace samuels/ryder and shakib should replace lee.....

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