Gautam Gambhir & Co look to extend their winning streak in last home league match on turning Eden track
Kolkata: In a T20 format where a ‘dot’ ball is as precious like a wicket, surprise is a serious weapon in the surge for success. Throwing in Sunil Narine and creating a rare pool of four specialist spinners may not have wrong-footed Delhi Daredevils on Thursday to the extent Kolkata Knight Riders would have wanted, but it did reveal the KKR ascent from here.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ spinner Brad Hogg celebrates a Delhi Daredevils wicket at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. Pic/PTI
Pocketing two consecutive matches on slow turners at the Eden Gardens, they are unlikely to leave that path when Kings XI Punjab take on the defending champions in the last of the latter’s league matches at home in IPL-8. While Narine didn’t quite set the Hooghly on fire, the West Indian would have been better off after another frustrating wait for clearance from BCCI’s committee on suspect bowling action. KKR will want him there at the business end of the tournament.
Pride at stake
KKR’s opponents for today’s match are languishing at the bottom of the league ladder. Without a hope of qualifying for the knockout stages, they will bring that dangerous ‘nothing to lose’ attitude.
“We have a lot to play for, pride being one of them,” Kings XI coach Sanjay Bangar said yesterday before team nets. “Also, we have been quiet so long that we are bound to hurt some team in a big way, and I expect that to happen sooner than later. Who knows, it could be tomorrow,” he reminded.
In David Miller, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson, they have the players to shock a few big guns. At the Eden Gardens, of course, they will also need quality in both spinners and players of spin to make a mark.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Axar Patel, a member of Team India’s World Cup squad, will have to provide leadership by using the conditions well.
It will be interesting to find out if KKR furnish the same formula of fielding four specialist spinners. Piyush Chawla, whose snared four wickets, said he has no plans to deviate from the way he bowled.
“I try to take wickets because that’s the only way you can stop the flow of runs. Sometimes you need to flight the ball, take that extra risk,” he said. “I go for wickets to contain the batsmen. You tend to go for a few runs but that’s the only way you can win a match. The moment you bowl to contain, it becomes a defensive ploy.”
IPL on tv
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab:
Sony Max, Sony Six & Sony Six HD, 16:00