Knight Riders face a tough tie against Rajasthan Royals(Preview)

April 30th, 2008 - 3:11 pm ICT by admin  

Jaipur, April 30 (IANS) Stung by two consecutive defeats, Kolkata Knight Riders will have to regroup themselves when they take on a recharged Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here Thursday. After starting their campaign on a high note winning the first two matches against Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned, Sourav Ganguly-led Kinght Riders witnessed lost two consecutive matches against Kings XI Punjab and then a resurgent Mumbai Indians Tuesday night.

To add to their woes, Knight Riders will miss the services of Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and dashing Kiwi wicketkeeper batsman Brendon McCullum for the rest of Twenty20 tournament this season, as they have already left for national duty, while West Indian Chris Gayle has been ruled out of the entire tournament due to a groin injury.

The contest to watch out for in the match would be the battle between Knight Riders’ skipper Ganguly and his counterpart Shane Warne.

Ganguly will be hoping for Pakistani opener Salman Butt to fire at the start, while local lad Debabrata Das too showed promise in his debut match against Mumbai Indians Tuesday night.

Ganguly has some worries with his bowling department as the Knight Riders’ bowlers looked ordinary in their last two games against Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. However, with Pakistani Umar Gul available for selection, they will look to put in an improved showing against a starless Royals batting line-up.

On the other hand, after their opening match disaster against Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals have torn apart their ‘also-rans’ tag in the inaugural IPL with three consecutive big wins and have crawled up to the second position in the points table. They will be hoping to carry on the momentum in their next encounter against a beleaguered Knight Riders’ side.

Led by the charismatic Warne, the Jaipur outfit suddenly looks like a formidable side. They silenced their critics when they defeated a strong Kings XI team by six wickets. Warne himself played a crucial role and picked up three wickets. In their next outing, Royals came out determined to prove that the win against Kings XI was not a fluke and stunned star-studded Deccan Chargers by chasing 215 in a thrilling match and beating them by seven wicket in their backyard.

Unlike Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals have no worries with the availability of their foreign imports. A buoyant Royals team, already with its tail up with the inclusion of South African skipper Graeme Smith, is further bolstered by England all rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas’ arrival.

All in all, it will turn out to be a test of nerves for the Knight Riders and especially their high profile coach John Buchanan, who has to get his strategy in place against the Royals who undoubtedly will be out there with an extra advantage in the home crowd to back them up.

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