Injuries haunt Kolkata; Vijay to play despite a finger injury

While impassioned speeches and long-winded team meetings have their merits — visual presentations can potentially embellish pre-match plans — by reviving sanguine moments from the past.

Before Gautam Gambhir leads Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) onto the field at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday afternoon, he would do well to arrange for his team a screening of its match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) here last year.

The coronation as champion after the final was historic for a side that had been badgered by controversies and failures in the first four seasons of the IPL. There was also the league match that KKR won; looking at it, even Gambhir might make allowance for a smile (his face has invited too many scowls lately) as he made a determined fifty.

Worrisome factor

But, with three wins from eight matches, the worrisome part for KKR is that it hasn’t done nearly as well as last year — at one point in 2012 it reeled off six victories from seven games.

The triumph over Kings XI Punjab on Friday — after three consecutive defeats — gave Kolkata a timely lifeline.

Last Saturday, KKR went down to CSK in a blunder-filled scrap. This time, with the same wicket being used as in the last two contests here, run-scoring isn’t bound to be hindered. Apart from Gambhir and Eoin Morgan, Kolkata’s batting hasn’t prospered from a united show.

If Yusuf Pathan’s sombre patch isn’t bad news enough, Manoj Tiwary and Laxmi Ratan Shukla are ruled out with injuries. Manvinder Bisla’s return to form and a steady bowling attack will, however, boost Kolkata’s morale.

CSK, with four wins on the trot, is decidedly at the other end of the spectrum. Michael Hussey and skipper M.S. Dhoni, at different points, have piloted the team. The team’s versatile captain has helped it snatch tight finishes.

Its death-bowling issues could be resolved by Dirk Nannes’ likely return from injury. Bowling coach Andy Bichel said on Saturday that Nannes was a “possible chance to come in.”

He added that M. Vijay, despite a finger injury, would play. CSK will look at the fixture as another opportunity to stand tall at home.

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