Kolkata v Punjab, IPL 2013, Kolkata April 25, 2013

Crown slipping, defending champions face Kings XI

Match facts

Friday, April 26, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Kolkata Knight Riders have to be smarting from their last match against Kings XI Punjab. They had the game done and dusted when the Kings XI bowlers began to bounce Yusuf Pathan and Manoj Tiwary, and pulled off a heist. The pitch for the return match, in Kolkata, will not afford that kind of bounce, and Knight Riders will be keen to get their own back.

However, this is no longer about just revenge. The defending champions are fading fast. After losing their last three matches, Knight Riders are languishing with just four points from seven games. Only Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils have been worse than them. The crown is slipping fast, and Knight Riders need to get a grip on it.

Unlike Kings XI, for whom lesser names like Mandeep Singh and Manpreet Gony have been making contributions, Knight Riders haven't had much of note from their non-internationals. Forget their choice of overseas players, forget Jacques Kallis' strike rate of 106, forget whether Brendon McCullum should play or not, Knight Riders need contributions from Yusuf, Tiwary, L Balaji and others.

Kings XI, on the other hand, have started to build momentum, with David Miller providing them that X-factor. Now for Adam Gilchrist to fire …

Form guide

Kolkata Knight Riders LLLWL (most recent first)
Kings XI Punjab WWLWL

Players to watch

Rest assured Yusuf Pathan won't get to face much spin from Kings XI. Mumbai Indians gave him Harbhajan Singh in the last match and he feasted. Then he got out to the first ball of pace. Once called a "magical player" by his captain Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf last scored an IPL fifty in 2010, and his fielding against Mumbai cost his side crucial runs in a tight chase.

Adam Gilchrist would have seen his Test captain Ricky Ponting sit himself out in the last match in Kolkata. It is not outlandish to think Gilchrist himself will be grappling with similar questions. He has scored just 67 runs in seven matches, and has even managed to drop a sitter, which would have cost them a match if it hadn't been for one of the young batsmen, David Miller, who missed out on the first few matches possibly because Gilchrist had taken up one overseas slot. If Shaun Marsh is available, it will be a tough call to make for Gilchrist.

Stats and trivia

  • Among bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 250 balls in the IPL, Sunil Narine is the only one to have an economy rate of under six: 5.54.
  • Playing for Knight Riders against Kings XI, David Hussey averaged 32.33, but when playing for his new team against the old one he has managed an average of only 17.25. More significantly, the strike rate falls from 144.77 to 86.25.

Quotes

"Now we have got three of the most fancied teams in the competition in KKR, Mumbai and Chennai in a row. It's a nice way to start this trip. We have made a step in the right direction."
After the win against Delhi Daredevils, Adam Gilchrist looks forward to the away matches

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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