Royals v Knight Riders, IPL 2014, Ahmedabad May 4, 2014

KKR face own woes, efficient foes


Play 04:09
Agarkar: KKR need continuity with their openers

Match facts

Monday, May 5, 2014
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)

Big picture

Kolkata Knight Riders must be slightly relieved they are not facing Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur even though it is supposed to be a home game for the latter. Within a week of conceding the match to Royals after a Super Over in Abu Dhabi, Knight Riders are facing them again, this time in Ahmedabad, which was assigned as the new home for Royals because the Rajasthan Cricket Association reportedly failed to produce the clearances from state authorities.

Would Royals be bothered? Not likely. Unlike bigger teams, they are used to these background irritations. They had a torrid time last year but still managed to finish in the top four. This year, their performances seem no different; they have been efficient as usual. Ask 11 people to pick the top performers for Royals this season and there is a good chance that all of them would disagree with the rest. Royals have a decent record at Ahmedabad with three wins in four games.

With three consecutive losses, Knight Riders' form is closely mirroring the early-season batting woes of their captain Gautam Gambhir. Most of their problems boil down to the lack of oomph in their batting. In the last three matches, they just haven't stood up as a unit. A couple of batsmen have made 30s and 40s, but there has been practically no support from the others. Knight Riders' previous loss against Chennai Super Kings, in which, apart from two, no batsman even got into double-digits, was representative of the general malaise.

If ever there was a silver lining, it was probably the bat-swing of Yusuf Pathan, who managed to hit four sixes in Ranchi. Knight Riders need that sort of presence from more of their batsmen because Royals are again making all the right moves this season while staying below the radar.

Form guide (most recent first)

Rajasthan Royals: WWWLL
Kolkata Knight Riders: LLLWL

Players to watch

The patchy form of Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan has no doubt hurt Knight Riders but Jacques Kallis' inability to hit out has meant the onus to increase the rate has been thrust on the team's second line of batsmen. With 26 runs in his last three innings, Kallis has been more of a burden in the top order. The regular presence of a Chris Lynn might have served the Knight Riders better. Still, Kallis did score a fifty in the first match. Just that he needs to do it more often to justify his tag as the leading allrounder.

The other night, Pravin Tambe's twin strikes robbed Delhi Daredevils of their momentum as he removed Quinton de Kock and Kevin Pietersen, both of whom were looking dangerous, in the same over. It was not the only time he struck big; he can proudly flaunt the wickets of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli among his nine scalps this season. The soft-spoken bowler has said that it's not the wickets that he goes after, but it's the runs he tries to curtail that bring him success. Not a regular last season, Tambe is quietly assuming the mantle of the most important Royals bowler.

Stats and trivia

  • 296 - Number of fours hit by Gautam Gambhir in the IPL, the most by any batsman. Gambhir is also on top of the list of batsmen with most 50-plus scores along with Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma
  • Shane Watson has more sixes - 89 - in the IPL than Gambhir and Jacques Kallis combined. Watson has only played 61 matches, while Gambhir and Kallis have featured in 94 and 96 matches respectively
  • For players who have scored more than 1000 IPL runs and are still playing, Kallis' strike rate, at 109.07, is the worst

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Xiong on May 5, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    GG 52@8.66 3 ducks, JK 141@23.5 1 duck

    Can't understand why KKR fans are happy that Kallis got dropped over Gambhir. Gambhir is a terrible captain and one of the absolute worst batsman in IPL 2014. Even if you take away JK's score in the first match he's still scored more runs than GG has in ALL of the matches.

  • sharif on May 5, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    What a changes KKR did today!! I loved it and I guess this is the best team they could ever have. Well, I would love to see Cummins at the place of Russel but they might want to give him another chance, so lets see!

    What a player Tendo is!! And Chawla just give away too many runs and Umesh in his place is going to give some good overs at start and end of the innings with Narine. Whatever good or bad its going to add one more option to Gambhir.

    The match is going to start in just 15 minutes from now, eagerly waiting to watch it.

    Go KKR GO!!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    It is high time KKR should realize that Kallis is not serving any good purpose. yeah he did well in the first game but what about the later games. Tendo very well deserves a chance by replacing Kallis. And Shakib should be promoted at no.3 so that he gets time to settle down. Cummins should also be given a chance by replacing Morkel. Kuldeep Yadav should also be taken into consideration as Piyush Chawla is not showing any further consistencies. So yeah my probable XI for today is,

    Pandey, Gambhir, Shakib, Uthappa, Tendo, S.Yadav, Das/Yusuf, Cummins, Narine, Vinay, K.Yadav

  • sharif on May 5, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    I wonder if Kolkata still fail to select their best eleven, many of the players out of the form but still having a chance.

    I have not seen any good performance from Kallis after the very first match of the IPL. Russell should not get any chance to play while sitting down Tendo, lynn, Cummins and Morkel.

    I will recommend Ghambir to stop selecting the players with previous form but he should select the talents.

    I would never drop Tendo and Shakib for a team like KKR, both of them are consistent players. But KKR taking too many chances with Ghambir, Kallis and Pathan. Yes Pathan played good last match and Ghambhir the previous one but was that enough to win?? Never! They might play well in one or two matches of 14 but KKR might be happy with that lol.

    Select the best team KKR. I would drop Gambhir too but I don't think he is ever going to be dropped-

    Gambhir, Robin, Sakib, Pandey, Tendo, Yadav, Yusuf, Cummins/Morkel, Narine, Vinay, U.Yadav/chawla

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    Watching the last gave between rcb & srh.when five down it was certainly over for rcb but abd showed only calculated stroke play can win you a match. The biggest thing missing for me with KKR is the perfect finisher. You can throughout all the names in the squad and yet become defeated. At the end of the day no matter whom you pick up to play, it is the win that is more important. Therefore my suggestion would be-no chopping and changing around, just play your best eleven for rest of the season (csk,kxip) and bring out the winning mentality, no doubt in kallis,shakib,pathan,gambir. They are the true champions.

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    kkr not using their any players wisely to be honest. they need to play Shakib more often..drop kallis and give chance to ten doeschate. bring shakib up the order at no.3. it should be gambhir,uthappa,shakib,pandey,doeschate,yadav, pathan,vinay kumar, chawla/yadav, cummins and narine..

  • Android on May 5, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    uthappa gambhir manish pandey saqib ryan ten deoschate yusuf yadav cummins narine chawla vinay

    how good does this line up look

  • mohammad on May 5, 2014, 8:19 GMT

    Top order is failing to score. Fast/medium pacer not bowling well. Those two needs to be taken care. Do not blame the spinners/all rounders. They are doing their jobs. Sunil and Sakib are the two most consistent and useful players. Need few more.

  • mohammad on May 5, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    Siva_Bala75 Your team selectino is not correct either.Why Morkel and Kallis while there are Tendo and Cummins/

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    team may be gambir uttapa sakib patan lynn panday yadav chawla cummin shunil morkel

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