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KKR vs King's XI Punjab: A host of problems for Knight Riders

Shamik Chakrabarty

Posted: Apr 26, 2013 at 0916 hrs IST

Kolkata: Of Kolkata Knight Ridersí total tally of 1019 runs this season, Gautam Gambhirís contribution has been about 30 per cent. Following the skipperís tally of 286 on his teamís list of leading batsmen is Eoin Morgan, at 194 runs not quite a close second. Other big names too havenít clicked, with just a handful barely managing crossing the three-digit mark.

Itís a similar tale in the KKR bowling department too. Like Gambhir, Sunil Narine (15 wickets from 7 games) too has begged for support from the other end but hasnít got any. Jacques Kallis, KKRís second highest wicket-taker, has just 7 wickets.

And thatís the reason most of KKRís opponent have taken field with a simple plan. Try to get Gambhir out early and then see off Narineís four overs, is what visiting coaches have announced at team meetings when at Eden Gardens. The same formula will be followed when the Kingís XI Punjab take on KKR Friday.

At Mohali, the last time the two teams met, Narine bagged a hat-trick. The game also saw Gambhir and Morgan getting runs. But still Punjab had the last laugh with Manpreet Gonyís resolve proving to be the difference between the two sides.

Injuries, many

To makes things difficult for the home team, they are also grappling with fitness issues. Kallis has been all but ruled out because of twisted knee and Tiwary is nursing an injured finger. Brendon McCullum or Ryan ten Doeschate will replace Kallis but KKR are short on local batting options. Manvider Bislaís hand injury during practice on match eve has raised question marks over his availability as well. Maybe, these forced changes can see Kolkata finally discover a winning formula.

Punjab, meanwhile, has much lesser worries. They have won two matches on the trot and have moved up the ladder to the fifth position. They are on the road now and the next three matches, starting with the one against Kolkata and followed by Mumbai and Chennai are likely to determine their progress in the tournament.

At least one win in three will keep them in hunt and against a faltering Kolkata side they have their best chance.

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