Kolkata aim to bow out on a high
Match factsKolkata v Mumbai, Kolkata
Monday, April 19
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
At long last, we have a dead rubber in IPL 3.0. Unless, of course, Kolkata Knight Riders beat Mumbai Indians, and by a margin so huge that they move from their current net run-rate of -0.456 to higher than Royal Challengers Bangalore's 0.219. This match will be of more interest to Mumbai, though, who will want to enter knockouts on a winning note.
Mumbai made an interesting move by opening with Ryan McLaren against Bangalore. McLaren scored a 42-ball 40 and took 1 for 21 in a Man-of-the-Match performance. They could give that opening combination another chance.
Dilhara Fernando, given two chances after Lasith Malinga was rested, has created a headache too: his split-finger slower ball hasn't been picked at all, and his eight overs have gone for 56 runs and four wickets.
The third team issue for Mumbai is the wicketkeeper: neither of Aditya Tare, Ambati Rayudu or Chandan Madan has been good with the big gloves. For the Bangalore match, Tare came back, and wasn't great. In the same game, Abhishek Nayar returned to fitness and played ahead of Ali Murtaza and R Sathish. Monday's match will be one final opportunity for Mumbai to sort out the combinations before the knockout stage.
Kolkata could decide to draft in those who haven't had many opportunities this year.
Mumbai 5 Kolkata 0
In their first match this season, Mumbai managed to subdue Kolkata with yorkers and low full tosses: Chris Gayle scored 75 off 60, and Kolkata 155 with only three wickets down. Mumbai chased it down with ease.
In the spotlight
Who knows where Sourav Ganguly will be in next year's IPL. Will Kolkata want to retain him? On paper there is no reason why they shouldn't: Ganguly has been their most consistent, and perhaps the best, batsman this year. That their best batsman has struck at 118 per 100 balls tells the season's story. If Kolkata don't, who will buy him at the next draft? And will Ganguly, who turns 38 in July, want to play anyway? Given all these considerations, it might just be Ganguly's last effort for Kolkata.
The last time Sachin Tendulkar played at the Eden Gardens, he scored a Test century against South Africa in a famous series-levelling, No.1-retaining win for India. The Eden crowds have been the most partisan in the IPL: when Virender Sehwag scored a half-century for Delhi Daredevils, he met with a hush from the same crowd he had sent into delirium in that Test match. If Tendulkar gets going, though, it will be the biggest test of how partisan the crowd can be.
Prime numbers and trivia
- Of the 20 bowlers who have taken 10 wickets or more, none comes from Kolkata. Four Mumbai bowlers, including Kieron Pollard, feature on that list.
- Kolkata haven't had regular specialist bowlers: neither of them has played more than nine matches.
- If Mumbai win, they will have won 11 matches; in the last two seasons put together they won 12.
The chatter"A lot of people are also surprised by my fielding. I am not, because it is just a reflection of the hard work put in throughout the year. That's what makes it more frustrating. We were not that bad a team to have to depend on others to know our fate."
Sourav Ganguly sums up a disappointing season.
Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo