Pune Warriors host Kolkata Knight Riders in the last game of their poor IPL campaign. This match would have been a much more intriguing prospect had KKR not beaten DDCSK in their last game.
But with Gambhir’s men having qualified for the play offs and PW long since out of contention, Ganguly should use the game to give some non-regular players an opportunity. For instance, the four foreign players for the match could be Tamim Iqbal, Luke Wright, Nathan McCullum and Graeme Smith. The other seven players could be Kamran Khan, Mithun Manhas, Robin Uthappa, Shrikant Wagh, Manish Pandey, Sachin Rana and Rohit Sharma.
This team has pure batsmen in Iqbal, Smith, Uthappa and Pandey, pure bowlers in Khan, Rana and Sharma, and all-rounders in Wright, Wagh, McCullum and Manhas. Most of them would be desperate to underscore their credentials and are likely to make a better fist of things than the so-called stars have done.
KKR would be anxious to consolidate their position on the table to ensure they don’t finish third or fourth for that would mean playing in the eliminator and having to win two game to qualify for the final. So I don’t expect much experimentation in the playing eleven, though Lee could come back at the cost of Shakib on a wicket that offers seam bowlers a sniff. Unless Gambhir would prefer to drop the in-form McCullum to accommodate both Lee and Shakib.
The middle order has been KKR’s main worry and they have been overly reliant on their openers and in particular on skipper Gambhir’s good form. KKR could therefore experiment with the batting order, as for instance, pushing the likes of Das and Pathan up the order. Yusuf Pathan, in particular, deserves an opportunity to face more deliveries and score a big one; that would do his confidence and the team’s prospects a world of good, ahead of the play offs.
Expect KKR to roll to victory over the Warriors who haven’t shown much fight in recent games. But I would dearly like to see the likes of Tamim and Manhas play and come good.
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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.