Already assured of a playoffs berth, Kolkata Knight Riders would aim to sign off their IPL league engagements on a high when they take on laggards Pune Warriors here tomorrow.
Gautam Gambhir's KKR are currently second on the table with 19 points from 15 matches and have been among the most consistent performers in the IPL, having won nine of their 15 league games so far.
The side has a power-packed batting line-up boasting of an in-form Gambhir, the unpredictably explosive Brendon McCullum, the ever-reliable Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary in the top half.
Their bowling attack too looks intimidating with a fine mix of pace and spin. In their last match against Mumbai Indians, mystery spinner Sunil Narine single-handedly won them the game with an outstanding effort of 4/15 in 3.1 overs.
Pace spearhead Brett Lee missed the previous game but is expected to be back even though Laxmipathy Balaji didn't do badly, conceding just 11 runs in his four overs that fetched him a couple of wickets as well.
Pune, on the other hand, are a team in disarray. The second-from-bottom side was handed a sound thrashing by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the previous match. The team, which is being led by Steve Smith after an out-of-form Sourav Ganguly was 'rested', has been struggling to click as a unit.
The batting line-up is brittle and even Australian captain Michael Clarke's entry has failed to lift the spirits. Barring Angelo Matthews, Pune also don't have a bowler worth talking about with most of them leaking runs and failing to grab any wickets.
From the look of things, KKR are expected to sail through tomorrow but Pune would aim to prove the naysayers wrong.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Brendon McCullum (wk), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Brett Lee, Iqbal Abdulla, Chirag Jani, Iresh Saxena, Jaidev Unadkat, Manvinder Bisla, Pradeep Sangwan, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Eoin Morgan, Marchant de Lange, Ryan ten Doeschate and Shakib Al Hasan.
Pune Warriors India: Sourav Ganguly (c), Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa (wk), Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Mithun Manhas, Wayne Parnell, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Murali Kartik, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda, Ali Murtaza, Anustup Majumdar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Harshad Khadiwale, Kamran Khan, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Mahesh Rawat, Manish Pandey, Mohnish Mishra, Raiphi Gomez, Rahul Sharma, Sachin Rana, Shrikant Wagh, Alfonso Thomas, Angelo Mathews, Callum Ferguson, Luke Wright and Marlon Samuels.
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