The Kolkata Knight Riders will be happy to note that the Kings XI Punjab are in a freefall and have only an academic chance of reaching the semifinals. Sourav Ganguly’s team should also remember that Kumar Sangakkara’s beleaguered side can still kill others’ dreams.
The Kings XI were not short on quality when the show started. It’s just that something or the other kept unsettling them, on and off the field.
The day the batting clicked, bowling and fielding let them down. The batsmen were as inconsistent as the bowlers and the controversy over Yuvraj Singh’s poor run couldn’t have come at a worse time.
In comparison, the Knight Riders have seen light at the end of the tunnel.
Under pressure, their variety in bowling has clicked with Angelo Mathews and Murali Kartik mixing things effectively. Kartik though has aggravated a groin injury but the faster bowlers too have struck when it mattered.
Batting remains a soft spot but they can take heart from the fact that they have scored eight half-centuries so far, having managed just six in the entire tournament last year. They are hungry to do well as a team and have shown a collective urge to pull things back in the four matches they have won.
Brendon McCullum’s arrival is a good headache because it forces the Knights into taking a difficult decision.
Under the circumstances, they have to drop either David Hussey or Chris Gayle and fit the Kiwi somewhere in the top three if at all.
The other concern should be the reputation of the Kings XI. In Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj, they have proven match-winners and there is firepower in bowling with Brett Lee leading the pack.
The ball hasn’t rolled their way, but in T20 anything can happen, anytime.
The Knights know that. They should be on their toes, trying their best to win the crucial moments, which decide the fate of a match.
How well they execute plans against a dispirited side will be the centre of attention of the sell-out crowd.