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The Preview by Kanishkaa Balachandran
April 26, 2009
Match factsApril 27, 2009
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Kolkata Knight Riders' previous game, against Rajasthan Royals, went right down to the wire and culminated in a Super Over, the first in IPL history, A win there would have pushed them to third place, ahead of their opponents at St George's Park tomorrow, Mumbai Indians. Kolkata have struggled for consistency, losing their opening game to Deccan Chargers, recovering to beat Kings XI Punjab in a rain-hit match and then losing to Rajasthan. They gained a point when their match against Chennai Super Kings was washed out without a ball being bowled. What they're yet to experience is a comprehensive outright win, without the assistance of Duckworth-Lewis.
Mumbai started the tournament in style, beating runners-up Chennai in the tournament opener but failed to close out their game against Deccan. In between, they gained a point in a washout against Rajasthan. Comparing the two sides, Mumbai look the more formidable unit with better all-round players. Both teams are coming off defeats but on paper, Mumbai start off as favourites.
Form guideMumbai: Sachin Tendulkar has led from the front with the bat and Lasith Malinga, with six wickets, has had a very encouraging start to his IPL career after missing the whole of last season due to injury. Malinga engineered Deccan's batting collapse and against Chennai, was rather difficult to put away in the death overs.
Kolkata: Chris Gayle has led the way for Kolkata but the support hasn't been very forthcoming. Brendon McCullum has managed only 25 runs in three games and is yet to replicate his heroics from the last edition. Sourav Ganguly's 46 against Rajasthan all but took them past the finish line so that's an encouraging sign. Consistency in the top order is required for Kolkata to mount a challenge.
Watch out forGayle v Mumbai's fast bowlers: Gayle could face a stiff test against Malinga and Zaheer Khan, who are adept of firing the ball on the blockhole. Gayle's batting is based on a stand and deliver approach, where he stays put at the crease, moves his back leg across, gets underneath the bounce to hoick it away. Rajasthan's Yusuf Pathan managed to keep Gayle quiet with the new ball so it may be a bad idea for Mumbai to open the bowling with Harbhajan Singh.
Team newsWith Sanjay Bangar flying back home, Kolkata will have to make at least one change to their line-up from the previous game. The Kolkata-based Telegraph has reported that Wriddhiman Saha, the wicketkeeper, has resumed nets but may not be available for selection for this game. He had injured his thumb at the preparatory camp in Bloemfontein.
Kolkata: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt/wk), 3 Laxmi Shukla, 4 Brad Hodge, 5 Sourav Ganguly, 6 Yashpal Singh, 7 (anybody), 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Anureet Singh.
Mumbai's Dhawal Kulkarni got pasted for 18 in an over against Deccan but he may retain his place, on the strength of his performance last year and in the Indian domestic season.
Mumbai: (probable) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 JP Duminy, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Abhishek Nayar, 7 Harbhajan Singh, 8 Zaheer Khan, 9 Pinal Shah (wk), 10 Dhawal Kulkarni 11 Lasith Malinga.
Head-to-head recordDwayne Bravo starred in the first encounter between these two sides at the Eden Gardens, scoring an unbeaten 64 to rescue his team from a troublesome 25 for 3, chasing 138. However, Kolkata cut a very sorry figure in the return match in Mumbai when they were bowled out for 67, then the lowest team score in the IPL. Sanath Jayasuriya blasted his team home in just 5.3 overs. On that count, Kolkata have a big score to settle.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at CricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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