Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab, IPL, Kolkata May 24, 2008

Punjab look to match Rajasthan

Match facts

Sunday, May 25, 2008
Start time 20:00 (local time), 14:30 (GMT)

Will Kumar Sangakkara break the record for the fastest IPL fifty? (file photo) © Getty Images

The Big Picture

Kings XI Punjab will play their second dead match in two days when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata. Sealing a spot in the semi-finals did not stop Punjab from putting on a convincing performance against the Deccan Chargers and they will want to match the consistent form of their fellow semi-finalists, the Rajasthan Royals. Their previous two games went down to the last over and Punjab will look to avoid that this time round.

For Kolkata, it is the final game of the season and they will want to end on a positive note, giving the Eden Gardens spectators something to cheer about. In their last four games, Kolkata haven't scored more than 149, and only one of their batsmen has managed a half-century - Salman Butt against the Chennai Super Kings.

When the two sides played in Mohali, Kolkata fell nine runs short despite a 73-ball 71 from David Hussey.

Tournament position

Kolkata Knight Riders: P13, W5, L7, NRR -0.167
Kings XI Punjab: P12, W9, L3, NRR +0.431

Form (last five matches, most recent first)

Kolkata Knight Riders: LLLWW
Kings XI Punjab: WWWWL

Watch out for ...

  • Kumar Sangakkara trying to break the record for the fastest IPL fifty, currently held by Yusuf Pathan - off 21 balls. Sangakkara has twice got to the landmark in 23 balls and he will be keen to improve on it.

  • What Kolkata's attack does to counter Luke Pomersbach, who has been dismissed only once in the tournament.

    Team news

    Shoaib Akhtar missed out the last match because of an injured ankle and it is unlikely Kolkata will bring him back for a game that holds no significance for them. So Umar Gul should get his sixth game. Kolkata's biggest headache has been the opening pair - they have used eight batsmen in the positions so far - and they may drop Mohammad Hafeez, who has averaged a little over nine from eight games, and get Sourav Ganguly to open along with Butt. After their game against Rajasthan, John Buchanan, the Kolkata coach, indicated that younger players would be given chances so Iqbal Abdulla, who went for 22 runs in his only game, may get another outing along with Tatenda Taibu.

    Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): 1 Salman Butt, 2 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 3 David Hussey, 4 Debabrata Das, 5 Tatenda Taibu, 6 Laxmi Shukla, 7 Wriddhiman Saha (wk) (wk), 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Ashok Dinda.

    Punjab's batting has been virtually invincible - they haven't used more than six batsmen in their last five wins - but they may decide to rest their leading run-scorer Shaun Marsh for their next game, against Rajasthan, which will be a dress-rehearsal for the semi-final or final. In that case, James Hopes will return to open with Sangakkara. Their bowling has been mediocre and Irfan Pathan may be brought back in place of Gagandeep Singh, who went for 11 an over in the previous game.

    Kings XI Punjab (probable): 1 James Hopes, 2 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 3 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 4 Luke Pomersbach, 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Piyush Chawla, 7 Tanmay Srivastava, 8 Ramesh Powar, 9 Irfan Pathan, 10 VRV Singh, 11 Sreesanth.

    Stats and trivia

  • Kolkata's best partnership, in terms of runs, came against Punjab when Hussey and Wriddhiman Saha added 104 for the sixth wicket.

  • Ishant Sharma, the costliest bowler in IPL at US$950,000, has taken only seven wickets in 12 matches with best figures of 1 for 17.

  • Pomersbach's average is equal to his aggregate of 151.


    "Motivation should come from within. If I am not able to talk and get it from my players, which I indeed could not do at the IPL, I should be under review."
    John Buchanan the Kolkata coach, on his side's elimination from the tournament

    "My team told me that they have yet to meet a better human being than me. This is a huge compliment."
    Kolkata franchise owner Shah Rukh Khan doesn't have time for false modesty.

    Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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