Kolkata Knight Riders’ play-off chances remain strung to a slender strand as the defending champion arrived here to play its remaining two home matches at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.
And, the home side faces the prospect of facing an in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.
With three matches remaining, the play-offs appear remote for KKR, which is placed seventh with 10 points from five wins and eight losses.
Foreign dept. arrears
KKR has drawn some arrears in the foreign import department, having seen the departure of New Zealand batsman Brendan McCullum and Australian speedster Brett Lee. Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is on national duty, is yet to join the side.
KKR will also seek inspiration from the recent win against Pune Warriors, which was its first away success.
The wicket here is an unknown entity, limiting KKR’s home advantage. The new venue has hosted only one international match — in which India beat England in an ODI in January — and that allows hardly any indication about the wicket.
Gambhir’s return to form gives KKR some hope in the batting department, which has remained the team’s biggest worry. While Gambhir, who has been the highest scorer for the side, appreciated the contribution of the Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate, who contributed a smart 31 to help the Knights put up a challenging total after a shaky start against Pune Warriors.
However, Yusuf Pathan, Manvinder Bisla and Eoin Morgan have not contributed much to the team’s cause.
RCB’s strength is its batting, while the bowling too has backed up well with a disciplined showing. With Chris Gayle, whose unbeaten 85 was instrumental in RCB’s home win over KKR, Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers showing good form, the Royal Challengers will definitely be counted favourites in the match.
The visitors are also high on confidence having beaten Delhi Daredevils in a close match in their previous outing.