Kolkata Knight Riders will hope to regain the top spot on the IPL 5 table when they host Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens on Saturday, May 12, 2012.
They will be helped in their cause by the advantage of playing before a vociferous home crowd on a wicket that has suited their bowlers.
KKR beat DD convincingly in their last game and these teams are considered as likely to meet on the finals and that win would have been a psychological blow in KKR’s favour. Gambhir has led the team from the front and the skipper’s own form – along with McCullum’s — has been crucial to his side’s rise on the points table. The middle order has been a worrisome factor with the likes of Kallis and Pathan not pulling their weight as expected. Kallis was among the runs against Delhi and that added to his utility as a bowler is a positive sign as we approach the business end of the competition. Pathan has been woeful with the bat but has contributed with the ball and a return to form even in the play offs will be welcomed from a player who can win a game off his own bat. Both players will be crucial to KKR’s title bid.
IF KKR have progressed as far as they have done, despite their batting woes, they owe it to their bowlers who have been magnificent. Lee has been consistently good while Narine has been the outstanding bowler of the tournament that rival batsmen have struggled to read while making the West Indian the second most economical of the competition behind Malinga.
MI, like KKR, have had batting woes, though without the silver lining of a Gambhir, but they have thrived on the back of a strong bowling attack in which Malinga has been devastating especially in his second spells. Harbhajan’s manic captaincy has seen the team fighting to the last in every game and that makes them dangerous rivals to contend with.
KKR have the psychological advantage over a team they beat comfortably in reverse fixture. But given their fragile middle order, KKR must be wary of MI’s bowling strength. Also, MI, despite their batting fragility, have some potential finishers in Smith and Pollard. But KKR have the edge, however thin, and must be favoured to win in familiar home conditions.
KKR’s probable eleven: McCullum, Gambhir, Kallis, Pathan, Tiwary, Das, Shukla, Bhatia, Lee, Sangwan, Narine.
MI’s probable eleven: Franklin, Tendulkar, Sharma, Rayudu, Karthik, Smith, Pollard, Harbhajan, Ojha, RP Singh, Malinga.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.