KKR, Rajasthan clash in battle for pride | cricket | Hindustan Times
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KKR, Rajasthan clash in battle for pride

cricket Updated: Apr 16, 2010 12:45 IST

Highlight Story

Needing a miracle to make the semifinals, both Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals would be desperate for a big win when they clash in an Indian Premier League match in Kolkatta on Saturday.

Both the teams are in the same boat as only a big win combined with favourable results from other ties can help their cause.

Having started off the season amid much hype and hoopla, Knight Riders fizzled out when it came to performance on the field.

After sacking John Buchanan following their last-place finish in IPL 2, KKR roped in another World Cup winning coach in Dav Whatmore, a Pakistani bowling legend in Wasim Akram and reinstated the most successful Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly as their captain.

The Knights began their season months ahead of the other franchisees with training and camps but what translated on the field was just misery. They are yet to get the right combination and are languishing at the bottom of the points table.

West Indies hurricane batsman Chris Gayle has exploded but in patches, with just two half-centuries.

Ganguly is the leading-scorer with 376 runs but the opener has exposed his inability to strike the ball at good rate suitable for the Twenty20 format, especially in a crunch situation.

The other big foreign names, Brendon McCullum and David Hussey have been a failure with averages of 17 and 18.50 respectively.

The Indian battery of Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha have been letdowns.

With Akram as bowling coach, KKR bowling was expected to be the best but their pace department has struggled with Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar lacking the killer instinct.

They also signed up New Zealand star pacer Shane Bond this season but despite his presence, KKR failed to defend a total of 200.

Much against them and a net run rate (-0.632), the lowest among all the teams, Knights will look to exit with their heads high with two home matches,Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians,left in the league. To their advantage, they have won three out of five past home matches.

For the Royals, it is their last match of the league and they would look to boost their Net Run-Rate. They have good depth in batting with openers Michael Lumb and Naman Ojha giving them good starts.

With explosive all-rounders in Yusuf Pathan and Shane Watson, Royals can break any opposition on a given day.

In inspirational Shane Warne as the leader of the side, the team has done wonders and once again they will look for an encore.