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KKR eye top spot ahead of playoffs


Soumya Joy,Cricketnext.com
May 18, 2012 at 03:45pm IST

Pune Warriors have just pride to play for, while Kolkata Knight Riders have the opportunity to move to 21 points and with it the top spot on the IPL 5 points table, and if they hold onto it – for this, Delhi Daredevils must lose their final match – it will give them a second chance of making the final if they lose the Qualifier. Apart from this, this clash at the Sahara Stadium has no exciting element apart from the fact that fans in Pune will see Sourav Ganguly come out to bat one final time in the league.

After their crushing 32-run win over Mumbai Indians, Kolkata are placed second on the points table while Pune are languishing at eighth. It will be a big challenge for PWI to arrest their slide as they go into this clash with eight straight defeats. They have failed to fire as a unit as their batting has flopped and bowlers too have not made the desired impact.

Kolkata on the other hand, have put in some exemplary performances in IPL 5. Their squad consists of some very prominent players who have played key roles in motivating their team members and taking the team into the playoffs. Skipper Gautam Gambhir has led from the front with 546 runs, while Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum and Manoj Tiwary have chipped in with cameos. Brett Lee has spearheaded the bowling as expected of a bowler of his caliber, and Sunil Narine has been outstanding with the ball in his first IPL season, taking a season-high 21 wickets at an average of 11.80 and miserly economy of 5.25.

KKR eye top spot ahead of playoffs

Victory over the ousted Pune franchise will give Kolkata 21 points.

Pune started off IPL 5 by winning their first two matches, but the poor performance of the players meant the team failed to continue with its winning momentum. All Pune would be aiming at is to try really hard to win this match so that their season ends on a positive note.

Probable XIs:

Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 Manoj Tiwary, 5 Debabrata Das, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Iqbal Abdulla, 10 L Balaji, 11 Sunil Narine

Pune Warriors India: 1 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Anustup Majumdar, 5 Callum Ferguson, 6 Steven Smith, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Murali Kartik, 10 Rahul Sharma, 11 Ashish Nehra.

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