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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Cricket

Cruising KKR look to stay in control
Ashutosh Sharma, Hindustan Times
Mohali, April 16, 2013
First Published: 00:14 IST(16/4/2013)
Last Updated: 09:44 IST(16/4/2013)

After starting with a bang and crushing an unsettled Pune Warriors in their first match of the season, Kings XI Punjab find themselves in a familiar situation, battling in the lower half of the points table.

Whereas defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders are back to winning ways after an ill-tempered loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore. KKR looked in pristine touch with both bat and ball in brushing aside Sunrisers Hyderabad.  

Two crushing defeats in a row with the team failing to bat 20 overs have left KXIP with tough choices.

The homegrown domestic talent failed for the second consecutive match. It was another meek surrender against Rajasthan Royals though KXIP bowlers did make a match out of it, brave in their effort of defending a measly total of 124.

A lot of maturity was needed after KXIP lost their skipper and opener Adam Gilchrist early, but the likes of Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra and Gurkeerat Mann showed they still have lot to play before acquiring the match temperament to deal with these situations. 

Injury trouble
With their injured batsman Shaun Marsh unlikely to join the team before April 20, one look at the team sheet shows KXIP don’t have a lot of choices.

The three foreign players apart from the skipper -- David Hussey, Ryan Harris and Azhar Mahmood -- have done enough to assure themselves of a place in the eleven.

On the domestic front, the team lacks teeth, their only options being Paul Valthaty, Bhargav Bhatt or Siddharth Chitinis replacing a domestic player.

Kolkata will be looking to maintain their momentum on a fast paced Mohali track, and against a weak side, Gautam Gambhir would settle nothing short of a win.

KKR batting fired, setting a formidable total for bowlers to dismantle Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens.

Gambhir not only looked more settled at the top but also marshalled his troops well.

For the Mohali encounter, he will once again be spoilt for choice. With Kallis and Brett Lee likely to lead the bowling attack, Gambhir can choose Lakshmipathy Balaji, Mohammad Shami or Pradeep Sangwan as the third pacer.

With the spin department so efficiently led by Sunil Narine, the only thing KKR may have to worry about could be maintaining their momentum.


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