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Tough ask for Tuskers

They may be the current table-toppers, who look sure of making it to the playoffs, but one match still hurts the Kolkata Knight Riders. And that was a six-run defeat to underdogs Kochi Tuskers Kerala at the Eden Gardens. Debjeet Kundu reports. Match box

cricket Updated: May 05, 2011 02:03 IST
Debjeet Kundu

They may be the current table-toppers, who look sure of making it to the playoffs, but one match still hurts the Kolkata Knight Riders. And that was a six-run defeat to underdogs Kochi Tuskers Kerala at the Eden Gardens. On Thursday, Gautam Gambhir & Co will be looking to pay back with dividend.

The Kochi Tuskers avenged their loss against the Daredevils in Delhi two days ago, receiving a confidence boost the team needed after being hammered at home in two consecutive matches. That can't easily brush aside their batting blues but would definitely give them some momentum against the table-toppers.

S Sreesanth and Brendon McCullum skipped practice on Wednesday as they are recovering from injuries, but skipper Mahela Jayawardene will still be a relieved man after the Delhi win. For the Knight Riders, the pleasant news is Yusuf Pathan discovering his big shots.

That will certainly give Gambhir, Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary some more breathing space.

Wicked wickets
The pitch at Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium has been at the centre of discussion for quite some time now.

After being nailed by the Deccan Chargers on a seaming track, the Tuskers were beaten by the Daredevils on the same pitch. No wonder, the first thing the Kochi players did was take turns at inspecting the two strips. "It's frustrating for a batsman to go out and not know what to expect from the pitch," said Brad Hodge.

The last one that was termed bad by Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag seemed unlikely to be chosen due to low bounce. The adjacent one had a tinge of green on it but those sides are fairly well matched in the pace department. Muttiah Muralitharan may comeback into the side, given his experience against Gambhir and Kallis. But for that, opener Michael Klinger may have to make way.

Whatever the team combinations, there are expectations that both teams will ensure a great match. And the ticket sales have also picked up.