Kolkata look to halt losing streak

Kolkata look to halt losing streak

Kolkata look to halt losing streak

Their title defence in danger, a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders desperately need a win against a resurgent Kings XI Punjab here on Friday in order to revive their fortunes in IPL-6.

After slumping to their fifth loss in as many as seven matches, including a hat-trick of defeats after going down to Mumbai Indians on Thursday, the Knight Riders have a difficult task ahead as they have slipped to the seventh spot with just four points.

From here on, the Kolkata outfit need to win at least seven more games from nine outings (five being away matches) to keep their hopes alive for a place in the play-offs.

Come Friday, the Knight Riders would fancy their chances against one of the weak sides in the competition, even as form favours the Punjab outfit which is brimming with confidence after back-to-back victories.

It’s quite certain that the Knight Riders will miss out on the injured trio of Jacques Kallis (twisted right knee), Manoj Tiwary (split webbing) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (ligament tear).

The injury problem maybe a blessing in disguise for the beleaguered Knight Riders as it may pave the way for explosive Kiwi batsman Brendon McCullum, while Ryan ten Doeschate, Manvinder Bisla and Mohammad Shami Ahmed will certainly be in the spotlight.

A win against Kings XI will also avenge their shock four-run loss at Mohali in the first leg as Gambhir’s men would look to turn it around.

The Knight Riders are clearly faltering with their last season’s strategy of attacking the opposition with mystery spinners on a sluggish wicket aided by a couple of part-time medium pacers.

No doubt, Sunil Narine has the guile and looked threatening every time he came on to bowl, but the opposition teams have become smart enough to play out the off-spinner’s four overs and attack the rest who are nothing but mediocre.

Star watch:

GAUTAM GAMBHIR: The left-hander seems to have forced his way out of a long slump. While his initial performances were rusty, he has come into his own in recent matches and will be raring to have a go at Punjab. With his side slumping to its fifth loss, there is a lot of pressure on the Delhi batsman to deliver big at the top.

MANDEEP SINGH: The 21-year-old right-hander has perhaps been the most consistent batsman for Punjab this season with four decent knocks in seven matches. While the Punjab batsman could go past the half-century mark on just one occasion, he will be high on confidence after the crucial innings against Delhi a couple of days ago.

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