The city’s Knight Riders will be looking to extend their winning run to another fixture when they take on a struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL-7 outing at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
With the city reeling under an unprecedented heat wave, the afternoon engagement will likely add to the strain of both sides.One win more
The home side, having won its last five matches, needs one more win to ensure a passage to the knockout stage.
On the other hand the visitor needs a win to sustain slender hopes of surviving.
Shaking off a tentative start in the initial phase in the United Arab Emirates, KKR has made the Indian phase memorable.
The last time KKR played with this level of consistency, it won the title (in 2012).
Captain Gautam Gambhir would be eyeing the knockout berth first before thinking of regaining the title.
Robin Uthappa’s (448 runs) awesome form has seen him score the bulk of KKR’s runs. His latest essay — a belligerent knock of 67 against CSK — gave KKR an eight-wicket win.
Gambhir has partnered him with well in the opening slot and the two have notched up a couple of century plus partnerships in the last six outings.
In the middle order Manish Pandey and Shakib Al Hassan have lent solidity to the batting order.Right tact
The host’s bowling, led by the Caribbean spin wizard Sunil Narine, has also shown the right tact and temperament to keep their opponents under leash and give the batsmen achievable targets to chase.
“It is the gaining of self-belief in their ability that has contributed in the spectacular turnaround for KKR,” said assistant coach Vijay Dahiya, as the majority of KKR’s regulars skipped optional practice on the eve of the match.
Royal Challengers, who faced a series of reverses in the earlier rounds, now have to win everything and depend on others’ failures to realise a slender chance of making it to the knockout stage.
The famed RCB batting has faltered more often than not with the likes of Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh and Parthiv Patel not managing much at the top of the order.
Skipper Virat Kohli has remained rather consistent in his position but his form alone has not added much to the team’s search for success.