Outcome may have a bearing on semifinal chances
Placed amidst a cluster of teams in the middle of the points table, both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders need to firm up their stance with victories as the DLF Indian Premier League hurtles towards the final stretch.
The two are level on ten points from ten matches and the clash at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday will have a bearing on their semifinal prospects.
Knight Riders got a fillip when speculation over skipper Sourav Ganguly's ankle injury subsided after coach Dav Whatmore said: “He (Sourav Ganguly) is fine. He will play.”
Host RCB has suffered an inexplicable recent slump with the latest being the seven-wicket defeat against the Deccan Chargers on Thursday.
Need for all to contribute
Throughout its campaign, RCB's batting has hinged on Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa and Virat Kohli, who between them have contributed 1185 runs out of the 1600 that the team as a whole has scored.
Skipper Anil Kumble needs the others to chip in consistently though the problem of plenty forced him to axe Kevin Pietersen for the last game.
The bowling too has lost its incisive bite ever since Chennai Super Kings' Murali Vijay tucked in heartily with a 78 last week. “We no longer have a cushion,” admitted Rahul Dravid.
Led by Ganguly, who turned the clock back in recent games, Knight Riders has performed in fits and starts though the last win against Delhi Daredevils will hold the team in good stead.
Ganguly (333 runs) and Chris Gayle (251) have led the scorers' chart while the bowling that sported different combinations, has waxed and waned.
Knight Riders will surely feel pleasant vibes at a venue where Brendon McCullum hammered an unbeaten 158 in the first match of the opening edition here in 2008.
Another McCullum hurricane will be most welcome to Ganguly while Kumble would beg to differ. "It happened two years ago and much water has flowed," quipped Whatmore.