Pune v Kolkata, IPL 2013, Pune May 8, 2013

Low stakes in battle of strugglers

Match facts

Thursday, May 9, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430GMT)

Big picture

In theory, Kolkata Knight Riders can pull off something short of a miracle. In theory, they can make it to fourth place and qualify for the playoffs. The operative words in both the sentences: 'in theory'.

Like Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Knight Riders have been poor travelers this season but unlike the other two teams, they haven't capitalised on the home advantage. It's made for a dismal situation at a crucial stage in the points table and they go into the match against Pune Warriors with four wins in 12 games.

They need to win all their matches and then pray for some mutualism within the league, that will allow them to move to the fourth spot.

Two of their last four matches are against Warriors, a team that is trying to beat the ignominy of finishing among the last two spots in the table for the third successive year. With a regular shuffle in leadership, lack of good bowling at the death and inconsistency in the field, they've drifted to the bottom of the table and out of the competition.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Pune Warriors LLLLL
Kolkata Knight RidersLWLLW

Players to watch

Aaron Finch was finally given the captaincy of the side after a startling leadership roulette that did no good to the team. While he hasn't been able to helm a team pulling away in all directions, his own performance has been decent. As an opener, he's got the team off to good starts with Robin Uthappa, though the failure of the middle order has hampered the team. With the pressure off his back, he'll be hoping to upset Knight Riders' plans.

Given the lack of teeth in the pace attack, and Ryan McLaren's poor performance against Mumbai, Ryan ten Doeschate may get a look-in. The Netherlands allrounder hasn't played a single game this season and his inclusion will bring some depth to a weak middle order, while giving the captain an extra bowling option.

Stats and trivia

  • Yusuf Pathan is the most successful bowler for Knight Riders against Warriors. He has taken four wickets from three matches at an average of 14.50
  • Robin Uthappa needs 60 runs to reach 3000 T20 runs
  • Warriors have the worst record among teams in the IPL. Of the 42 matches they have played in the tournament so far, the team has won 10 and lost 31, with one match being abandoned

Quotes

"I think from here it makes us a dangerous side. Teams will take us lightly and it gives us an extra bit of positivity than anything else. We are not going to sit and sulk about it."
Knight Riders' batsman Eoin Morgan adopts a positive approach to the side's few remaining games

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo