Kolkata v Rajasthan, IPL 2013, Kolkata May 2, 2013

Desperate Knight Riders running out of time


Match facts

Friday, May 3, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Kolkata Knight Riders find themselves racing the clock as time runs out on their bid to make it to the playoffs. With just three wins in 10 matches, Knight Riders risk finishing in the bottom half of the table unless they win every game from here on, including the one on Friday against Rajasthan Royals.

Knight Riders have enough firepower in their line-up to create a final surge. But their biggest hurdle, against Royals and the other teams, has been inconsistency. They've had few days when the batting and bowling has clicked together and the failure of marquee players has dragged them down further. But Knight Riders will hope the side that takes the field on Friday can feed off the enthusiasm and support of the loyal home crowd.

Royals need this win as badly as Knight Riders. They've been poor travellers this season and as the competition for the playoff spots heads for a logjam, a win here could give them some breathing space and possibly the momentum to open up a gap of a few points.

Fortunately for Royals, they have players who have stepped up to the challenges thrown their way. The batting looks settled in spite of captain Rahul Dravid's changes in the batting order. Shane Watson's return to form and contributions from players like Dishant Yagnik, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson and James Faulkner have helped them beat more fancied teams and they are more than capable of springing a surprise on Knight Riders.

Form guide

Kolkata Knight Riders LLWLL (most recent first)
Rajasthan RoyalsWWLLW

Players to watch

There probably will not be a better time in this IPL for Gautam Gambhir to stand up and show his leadership skills. His technique is strong enough to handle Sreesanth, James Faulkner and Shane Watson at the top of the order but, more importantly, he needs to be an innovative leader on the field and marshal the out-of-form batting line-up

Since the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, when he returned to bowling on the same day that he quit his vice-captaincy, Shane Watson has taken five wickets. More importantly, in those four matches, he has amassed 268 runs at a strike rate of 174.

Stats and trivia

  • Royals don't have a great record on the road in the IPL. Of the 34 away matches they've played in the IPL, they have won 14 and lost 20.
  • Shane Watson has an IPL strike rate of 147.62, which puts him fourth overall in the IPL
  • Gautam Gambhir has the 19 fifty-plus scores in the IPL and is joint-highest with Rohit Sharma. Among the top five batsmen in the list, Gambhir is the only one without a hundred


"We would try to get back the best players in the top order. We also need to give confidence to the middle order so that the team can score 150 plus, a competitive total in the game." Kolkata Knight Riders' coach Trevor Bayliss mulls over a strategy to improve the side's batting

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srisha on May 3, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Everyone's saying it's a slow pitch and good for spinners. If RD also thinks that way, he should bring in Hogg in place of Owais Shah. They do have a strong batting line up if you consider James Faulkner as an allrounder and giving up on Shah or Cooper should not make a huge difference. Also, like RD, Hogg is very young at heart and high on energy and can show it on the field. Chandila and Hogg will be two different sorts of bowlers the batsmen will find difficult to get away. We are moving towards the business end of the tournament and RD should keep some of his trump cards match ready. This could be the opportunity as he's not facing a team that may threaten RR's place in the play-offs. Go RR!!!

  • I on May 3, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    To me, the biggest change in KKR from last season is the absence of Wasim Akram. Everything else is more-or-less intact, might that be the contributing factor in their big dip in performance this year?

  • RAJESH on May 3, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    My team for today.............. 1.Gautam Gambhir (c), 2.Manvinder Bisla, 3.Jacques Kallis, 4.Eoin Morgan, 5.Yusuf Pathan,6.Sumit Narwal, 7.Rajat Bhatia, 8.Brett Lee, 9.Sunil Narine, 10.Lakshmipathy Balaji, 11.Pradeep Sangwan

  • Yuva on May 3, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    KKR has nothing to be embarrassed about. After all no champion team in IPL has ever reached the play-offs or semifinals while defending their title, with the only exception being CSK. That clearly indicates to everyone that there is only one champion team in IPL and that is Chennai Super Kings.

  • Srinivas on May 3, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    It is obvious even for an ardent Dravid supporter like me that Dravid has a problem with picking up slower deliveries. I'm sure the oppositions have noted that as well. He is getting dismissed predictably to slower deliveries. He needs to straighten out that area of his batting. Halla Bol Halla Bol......

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    KKR want to win then they have to drop Jack kallis... Even 130 runs chasing can be difficult if he bat for 10 overs...

  • Deepak on May 3, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Looks like KKR is out of players or bench strength to have Sakib. The giy is another loser from a loser team now represnting another losing team KKR. It is better that they dont play him to avoid embarassment or humiliation. KKR won the IPL 2012 in fluke.

  • Deepak on May 3, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    RR will win mercilessly. RD is the god of gntleman's game.

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    I am a Dravid fan and his team has removed the question "can you win without the big names of the game?" I have supported RR in all their games so far But Tonight I cheer for KKR. They are a good team, and when a team is pushed against the wall, they usually play as champs. They seem to experience a resurgence that often make them unstoppable. Tonight Eden gardens will roar and its gonna be so loud, heaven's gonna hear it. Go KKR

  • Madhavan on May 3, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Gambhir has failed to perform as a player and as a Captain. He seems to have lost his cool .The way he was growling at Balaji that day was shocking. High time ,he is replaced with a cool headed Captain if KKR needs to go further.