Kolkata Knight Riders v Pune Warriors, IPL 2012, Kolkata
Ganguly Returns Home as Opposition04-May-2012 17:58:00 GMT
Kolkata: Sourav Ganguly's Pune Warriors may have lost four matches in a row but they would find themselves at 'home' as loyalties will be split when they face Kolkata Knight Riders in an emotionally-charged up IPL contest on Saturday.
The stakes for the match are high with die-hard Ganguly fans rooting for the contest as a revenge for city's icon after being snubbed by his former franchise following a bitter association for the first three seasons.
From celebrities and experts to commoners, everybody is eagerly waiting to see the former India skipper lead the side from the visitor's dressing room at the Eden Gardens, a venue where he grew up as a cricketer.
But going by the form book, all is not well for Ganguly's soldiers, while the Knight Riders are on the right track to seal the last-four berth, placed comfortably in the second spot of the IPL ladder.
Having lost six of their last seven games with their latest defeat on Thursday to Mumbai Indians, Ganguly and Co. are languishing ahead of bottom-placed Deccan Chargers.
But the match at Ganguly's home, aided by the partisan crowd, could give Pune the perfect opportunity to make a comeback.
Their defeat by the narrowest of margin -- one run -- at their backyard on Thursday has compounded Ganguly's misery.
Chasing a mere 121, Ganguly's creepy-crawly innings meant that Pune slowly made the task difficult even as a well-played Mithun Manhas remained unbeaten at the other end with a doughty 42.
Ganguly looked woefully out of sorts in his 12 from 22 balls, unable to earn anything more than the difficult singles.
He showed glimpses of old when he lifted Lasith Malinga up for a boundary but only to be bowled in the same over for a 24-ball 16 with the asking rate climbing to nine.
But with the never-say-die attitude of the retired India skipper, it remains to be seen how he brings himself out of the rut or think of gracefully leaving the stage with a more capable Aussie skipper Michael Clarke waiting in the wings.
Even against Deccan Chargers, a tactical blunder of bringing himself to bowl at the death after leaking 15 runs from his first two overs cost them the match.
It's time he rethinks his strategy or rejig his line-up, bringing world-class Bangladeshi batsman Tamim Iqbal in place of Jesse Ryder.
Tamim came to the IPL with four consecutive half-centuries in the Asia Cup -- one of them against India -- but was still left out and with the tournament already past the halfway stage, it remains to be seen how the think-tank keeps him to warm the bench ahead of a must win matches.
Gambhir has shown maturity in batting as well as his captaincy. His gesture of handing over his Man-of-the-Match award to a young Debabrata Das in their last match has earned him a lot of accolades.
With 16 needed off 12 chasing 140 in Chennai, the fall of Gambhir after an entertaining 63 had caused a scare following yet another failure of Yusuf Pathan.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Brendon McCullum (wk), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Brett Lee, Iqbal Abdulla, Chirag Jani, Iresh Saxena, Jaidev Unadkat, Manvinder Bisla, Pradeep Sangwan, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Eoin Morgan, Marchant de Lange, Ryan ten Doeschate and Shakib Al Hasan.
Pune Warriors India: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa (wk), Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Mithun Manhas, Wayne Parnell, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Murali Kartik, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda, Ali Murtaza, Anustup Majumdar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Harshad Khadiwale, Kamran Khan, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Mahesh Rawat, Manish Pandey, Mohnish Mishra, Raiphi Gomez, Rahul Sharma, Sachin Rana, Shrikant Wagh, Alfonso Thomas, Angelo Mathews, Callum Ferguson, Luke Wright and Marlon Samuels.
Stats and trivia
- Sourav Ganguly has scored 496 runs in IPL matches in Kolkata at an average of 41.33. In IPL 2010 alone he scored 331 at an average of 55.16.
- Yusuf Pathan has hit 77 sixes in his IPL career. However, only three of them have come this season.
- Knight Riders' bowling is the most economical this season, giving away only 6.79 runs per over. Warriors are fourth with an economy of 7.61.
Saturday May 5, 2012 (day/night)
Start time 16:00 local (10:30 GMT)