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Royal Challengers aiming for semi final spot

The old adage cricket is a “funny old game” – might well resound true for the Anil Kumble led Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Two successive defeats and the Royal Challengers Bangalore today find themselves in the bottom half of the table, while just a week ago the team was on a high - fourth in the DLF Indian Premier League table on the back of three successive victories.

Two defeats against the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals - and the Anil Kumble - led side have slipped to seventh in the table and would be desperate to make amends when it takes on the battered Kolkata Knight Riders. Thus, tomorrow’s match against the Kolkata Knight Riders though will give Anil Kumble and his men an opportunity to bounce back. The Kolkata Knight Riders though will be playing more for pride than points.

With eight points from their 10 games the Royal Challengers Bangalore are just two points away from a semifinal place in what is shaping up to be

a tight finish to Season 2009 of the DLF Indian Premier League this season. A win over the Kolkata Knight Riders will move them above the Mumbai Indians, whom they lost to in Port Elizabeth on Sunday falling 16 runs short in a run chase. Despite a fine knock of 48 by Mark Boucher, who is proving to be the go-to man for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, losing wickets at regular intervals cost the team, something they would hope to correct against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

"Boucher is played at the end the end, to try and finish the game for us, but unfortunately it was too many runs at the end for him," said team captain Anil Kumble. "We lost too many wickets at the start and that probably was the main reason. That's what we need to look at seriously."

But the Royal Challengers would be need to guard against being complacent against the Kolkata Knight Riders, which despite an abundance of talent, has simply not performed as a team.

The last-placed Kolkata Knight Riders have endured a horror season with just one win from 10 matches. They were delivered a further blow on Sunday when they were heavily beaten by the Delhi Daredevils at the Wanderers. It looked as though Brendan McCullum, the team captain, was in the mood for a fight as he smashed the second ball of the match for a six, but when he was wrongly given out leg before wicket, they struggled to get the Delhi Daredevils bowlers away on a good Wanderers wicket.

They certainly do have an abundance of talent in McCullum, Sourav Ganguly, Brad Hodge and the big-hitting David Hussey, who is back from Australia duty. The bowling also with Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar looks good which could well make the Kolkata Knight Rider dangerous floaters now.

Kolkata would also be hoping for some luck, which it seems it have left behind while heading for the rainbow nation, as it attempts to avoid the dubious record of registering the most number of defeats in the tournament, one that is held by Deccan Chargers (12) from the inaugural season of the DLF Indian Premier League last year.

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