At home, Kolkata Knight Riders find themselves in a perform-or-perish situation for a place in the semi finals. Skipper Sourav Ganguly will have to rustle up something special as the stakes are high and the opposition, Delhi Daredevils, a tough nut to crack. On the other hand, sitting pretty at second position, Gautam Gambhir has no such worries to deal with. And having humbled the KKR at Kotla, he knows the pressure to deliver will be on the home team.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The confidence of the team may not be particularly high after failing to defend a total of 200 against the bottom-ranked team, but they have to pick themselves up and give everything they have to win the game.
The first challenge would be to pick the right XI. Purely on the basis of his recent form, keeper-batsman Brendon McCullum picks himself up. But that`s where the problem begins as Sourav will have to leave out either Angelo Mathews or David Hussey because of the four foreign player rule.
In all likelihood allrounder Mathews is going to miss the bus, as his form has inexplicably petered out after some fine performances early in the tournament. He can be replaced by a local allrounder, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who can snare a wicket or two and score a quickfire 15 to 20 runs. Sourav will also have to bring back Ishant Sharma as Jaidev Unadkat proved to be too raw.
The team cannot afford to set a foot wrong and will have to come up with a fine all-round performance if they are eyeing a win in front of home crowd.
Buoyant after their victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi will be difficult to stop. Even though Sehwag and Gambhir haven`t fired of late, other batsmen have seen the team home. And if the two Delhi batsmen come to party at Eden Gardens, the home team will struggle.
The team bats deep and should not have a problem chasing a big score though the pitch may provide a challenge as it gets progressively slow.
If left-arm speedster Dirk Nannes recovers in time, the team`s bowling attack will become more potent as Vettori`s presence has already added to its strength and variety. The team has nothing to lose as they are expected to cruise to the semis and the team that plays with freedom are often difficult to beat.
Teams (Probable Eleven):
Kolkata Night Riders:
Sourav Ganguly (capt), Chris Gayle, Manoj Tiwary, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, David Hussey, Cheteshwar Pujara, Brendon McCullum (wk), Ajit Agarkar, Murali
Kartik, Shane Bond, Ishant Sharma
David Warner, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir (capt), Paul Collingwood, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Daniel Vettori, Rajat Bhatia, Amit Mishra, Dirk Nannes/Farveez Maharoof, Pradeep Sangwan