Pune: May 18, 2012
Already assured of a playoffs berth, Kolkata Knight Riders would aim to sign off their IPL league engagements on a high when they take on laggards Pune Warriors on Saturday.
Gautam Gambhir's KKR are currently second on the table with 19 points from 15 matches and have been among the most consistent performers in the IPL, having won nine of their 15 league games so far.
The side has a power-packed batting line-up boasting of an in-form Gambhir, the unpredictably explosive Brendon McCullum, the ever-reliable Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary in the top half.
Their bowling attack too looks intimidating with a fine mix of pace and spin. In their last match against Mumbai Indians, mystery spinner Sunil Narine single-handedly won them the game with an outstanding effort of 4/15 in 3.1 overs.
Pace spearhead Brett Lee missed the previous game but is expected to be back even though Laxmipathy Balaji didn't do badly, conceding just 11 runs in his four overs that fetched him a couple of wickets as well.
Pune, on the other hand, are a team in disarray. The second-from-bottom side was handed a sound thrashing by Rajasthan Royals in the previous match.
The team, which is being led by Steve Smith after an out-of-form Sourav Ganguly was 'rested', has been struggling to click as a unit.
The batting line-up is brittle and even Australian captain Michael Clarke's entry has failed to lift the spirits.
Barring Angelo Matthews, Pune also don't have a bowler worth talking about with most of them leaking runs and failing to grab any wickets.
From the look of things, KKR are expected to sail through tomorrow but Pune would aim to prove the naysayers wrong. (PTI)
PWI (probable): Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa(wk), Sourav Ganguly(c), Callum Ferguson, Anustup Majumdar, Angelo Mathews, Steven Smith, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Murali Kartik, Rahul Sharma, Ashish Nehra
KKR (probable): Brendon McCullum(wk), Gautam Gambhir(c), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Iqbal Abdulla, Sunil Narine
Time: 20:00 local (14:30 GMT)