Knight Riders in must win Indians clash
The Kolkata Knight Riders take on a strong Mumbai Indians outfit in East London on Friday hoping that all-rounder Chris Gayle will be able to make a significant contribution in his last game.
Incidentally, Gayle hit 40 for the Kolkata Knight Riders against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Durban on Wednesday, but used a runner for the latter part of his innings.
He then also bowled 3.5 overs of off-spin as his side lost to Kevin Pietersenís Royal Challengers Bangalore sliding to the last spot in the league standings for Season 2009 of the DLF Indian Premier League in South Africa.
Interestingly, though the Kolkata Knight Riders, who finished sixth last year in Season 2008, have picked up only one win in six games this season in South Africa, but the table this year is very compact and one victory could lift the Kolkata Knight Riders to mid-table and keep alive their hopes of a Semi Final berth.
Thus, Chris Gayleís availability could make a big difference since a couple of big overs with the bat at the top of the innings in the Twenty20 version of the game is sufficient to turn a game, and he has the ability to do that.
The trio of Gayle, together with Ganguly who has also put in some good performances with bat and ball in Season 2009 of the DLF IPL and their new captain Brendan McCullum, thus hold the key to the Kolkata Knight Riders fortunes and a good showing in East London could well see them back in the race.
The Kolkata Knight Riders though come up against some formidable opposition in the form of the Sachin Tendulkar led Mumbai Indians.
The last time these two teams played each other in Port Elizabeth on Monday, the Mumbai Indiansí openers Sachin Tendulkar (68) and Sanath Jayasuriya (52) set up a thumping 92-run victory with a first-wicket partnership of 127.
The only consolation for the Kolkata Knight Riders though would be the fact that both the Mumbai Indiansí openers failed in a three-run defeat to the Kings XI Punjab in Durban on Wednesday.
They will also have to worry about the maturity of JP Duminy who made a very useful contribution with the bat against the Kings XI Punjab to get the Mumbai Indians within striking range in the final over before falling to a catch on the boundary.