KKR, BRC square off in battle of survival in IPL
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KKR, BRC square off in battle of survival in IPL

High on star power but low on performance, tournament laggards Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore square off in a battle of survival in the Indian Premier League in Durban today, Rakesh Thapliyal reports.Special coverage | Listen to podcastaudio

cricket Updated: Apr 29, 2009 02:45 IST
Rakesh Thapliyal
Rakesh Thapliyal
Hindustan Times

The Indian Premier League (IPL) will once again witness a clash between teams owned by a business tycoon and a superstar.

The Vijay Mallya-owned Bangalore Royal Challengers will lock horns with Shah Rukh Khan’s side, Kolkata Knight Riders, with both sides looking to turn their fortunes on Wednesday after a string of defeats.

The Knight Riders, despite their none-too-impressive performance, know all too well that their opponents on Wednesday have lost the last four matches and are low on confidence. And Durban — also called ‘mini-India’ — could well be the place to turn their fortunes around.

The Royal Challengers have flattered to deceive. After good, promising starts, they have frittered away the advantage. And all this despite the presence of the trio of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Kevin Pietersen in the side. In fact, Pietersen was born and brought up in South Africa and Durban is like his backyard. He has failed as captain as well as a batsman, which has disappointed quite a few of his admirers here.

Dravid, the most successful batsman in the team with 144 runs, will not play Wednesday’s game as he has flown back to Bangalore to be with his wife and infant son.

The Knight Riders are also sailing in the same boat, but they have three points to Bangalore’s two. The controversy over captaincy had barely died down, when a fresh one started after some players were sent back to India. The team, it seems, has more strategists than cricketers, and still the Knight Riders are heading nowhere. Skipper Brendon McCullum has been unimpressive with the bat and a lot will depend on how West Indian Chris Gayle and Sourav Ganguly play on Wednesday. After these two stalwarts, there is hardly anyone to hold the innings together.

First Published: Apr 29, 2009 02:39 IST