Redemption time for bottom-placed teams
The Kolkata Knight Riders need the top-order to fire against the all-round strength of the Mumbai Indians. For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, they need to capitalise on the momentum they got after defeating KKR in the last match against the Kings XI Punjab who are beginning to fire, HT reports.cricket Updated: May 01, 2009 02:58 IST
May day might be a holiday in many parts of the world but for the IPL it's just another day. The two match-ups provide a much-needed shot at redemption for two teams languishing close to the bottom of the table. The Kolkata Knight Riders need the top-order to fire against the all-round strength of the Mumbai Indians. For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, they need to capitalise on the momentum they got after defeating KKR in the last match against the Kings XI Punjab who are beginning to fire.
Key match ups
Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum v Mumbai's bowlers: The openers have been the sole reason that Kolkata are still being considered a force to reckon with. But Gayle and McCullum, who has not fired so far, are up against the most balanced attack in the competition. Malinga's pace, Zaheer's experience, Harbhajan's guile and Bravo's change of pace.
Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor v Punjab: With Kevin Pietersen having ended his IPL stint and Rahul Dravid back home, the onus is on the two Kiwis to score runs. Even if they don't blaze away, they need to make sure they give their bowlers something to work with should they bat first.
With the pitches in most venues having been used regularly they have grown a touch tired, in cricket terms, and are only getting slower and lower. With the surfaces providing some grip early on, the spinners will have a role to play. Ramesh Powar (KXIP) has shown what value there is for flight, and Harbhajan (MI) is leading the pack for the slow men. Anil Kumble has been effective and is getting good support from KP Appanna for the Royal Challengers. The Kolkata team, however, continue to be confused, using Ajantha Mendis and Murali Kartik alternately, giving neither a proper run.
Who’ll lead RCB?
Durban: Bangalore Royal Challengers haven’t yet decided on the man who will replace Kevin Pietersen at the helm. Sources in the team management put Anil Kumble as the frontrunner but till Thursday evening, nothing was official about it. Pietersen left on Wednesday night to join the England squad. “Maybe we will be in a position to comment on this later tonight,” coach Ray Jennings told HT. Names of Kallis and Boucher too are also doing the rounds.