Both KKR and Somerset are in the running to make it to the next stage.
Hyderabad: With both teams in the running to make it to the next stage of the Champions League T20, the final qualifying match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Somerset on Wednesday is bound to see a few nerves.
However, coming into the game, the two sides involved will have the advantage of knowing the result of the earlier match between Ruhunu Eleven and Leicestershire Foxes, depending on which both Kolkata and Somerset could qualify irrespective of who wins their game.
Still, a straightforward victory will prevent any undue stress and the pressure will be more on the Kolkata side, whose owner Shah Rukh Khan is expected to be in the stands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Kolkata are clearly the superior side to their English counterparts, even though they are missing injured skipper Gautam Gambhir. Their performance in the first game belied their strength, however, with the IPL side managing only a narrow two-run victory over Auckland Aces. Stand-in skipper Jacques Kallis stressed the need to improve after that match, and KKR will be hoping the lessons have been learnt quickly.
Despite being given a good start Manvinder Bisla (32-ball 45) at the top of the order, no other batsman bar Kallis (33) managed to make a significant contribution. KKR will need the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary and Shakib Al Hasan to get them some quick runs.
It was KKR's slower bowlers who helped them defend 121 and earn the win, as they were able to keep things tight as well as pick up the wickets. Yusuf, Shakib and Rajat Bhatia should again prove to be quite a handful for the Somerset line-up in favourable conditions.
Somerset also defeated Auckland in a last-ball thriller in their first game, and again it was the bowlers who did the job for the County side. None of the bowlers went for more than six-and-a-half runs an over, with only Indian left-arm spinner Murali Kartik going wicket-less.
The batting, shorn of international stars like Craig Kieswetter on England duty, struggled to chase the low total of 126, with only a late cameo from the hitherto unknown Steve Snell (24-ball 34) pulling them through. James Hildreth (34) will have to be among the runs again, while more will be expected of South African Roelof van der Merwe.
The intensity of the game may depend on how things pan out by the time KKR and Somerset take the field. Still, another close game in likely, with the bowlers likely to make the difference for either side.