Match 22 Preview: Tuskers Eye Knight Riders

Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Kolkata Knight Riders are having a dream run after initial glitches. Now, when they stand against each other in winning form, deciding the winner is a very close call.

History
There is no cricketing history between Tuskers and Kinght Riders. Players can have specific interests though. Brendum McCullum, the leading run scorer of Kochi was the captain of KKR for sometime.

2011 Performances
The Knights lost the first match again Chennai Super Kings, which they should have won, while won the close match against Deccan Chargers at home. Playing back-to-back matches against Rajasthan Royals, they first won the away match chasing a record total, and then ridiculed the Royals batsmen in the Home game.

When Kochi played their first match, they went on to score the highest score of the tournament, scoring 161/5. But Bangalore batsmen chased it. Even Pune Warriors defeated them in the same fashion. But, against Mumbai Indians they realised their batting strength and decided to chase, and earned their first victory. Against Chennai Super Kings also they earned easy victory chasing a high score.

Player’s Performances
KKR player’s performance index shows Kallis, Gambhir and Tiwary in tremendous form. Even their bowlers have taken 22 wickets in 4 matches.

Kochi’s player’s performance index shows McCullum, Jadeja, Hodge and captain Mahela in tremendous forum. But their bowlers have failed taking only 13 wickets in 4 matches.

Who Will Win!!
Kochi has already defeated both the 2010 finalists, MI and CSK. Now, considering their success against the toppers, current group topper KKR may be under threat. Kochi needs to replicate KKR’s 3-consecutive victory feat, the only team to do so in 2011 so far. For that they must defeat KKR, which is bubbling with confidence. Their bowlers and batsmen both are in superb form and the team looks the best for now. But they cannot win all the remaining 10 matches, and today may be that day.

Key Battles
McCullum/Jadeja vs KKR bowlers
McCullum and Jadeja are the pillars of Kochi, and KKR bowlers overall have not performed so bad. If they can just take these two wickets, KKR has huge edge. But if these two survive on wicket for long, KKR players will have a field day.

Kallis/Gambhir/Manoj Tiwary vs Kochi Bowlers
The three successful batsmen of KKR may find it easy to tame the Tusker bowlers, who are anyways not successful so far. Yet, if Kochi has to win, the Tusker bowlers must produce some magic moments, specially against these three KKR players.

Kolkata Knight Riders Squad
Batsman: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Brad Haddin (WK), Eoin Morgan, Manvinder Bisla, Shreevats Goswami, Laxmi Shukla, Manoj Tiwary,
Allrounder: Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan,
Bowlers: Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaidev Unadkat, Shami Ahmed, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Rajat Bhatia, Sarabjit Ladda, Iqbal Abdulla

Kochi Tuskers Kerala Squad
Batsman: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Michael Klinger, Brendon McCullum (WK), Owais Shah, VVS Laxman, Kedar Jadhav, Chandan Madan, Parthiv Patel (WK), Yashpal Singh
Allrounder: John Hastings, Brad Hodge, Steve O’Keefe, Thisara Perera, Steven Smith, Ravindra Jadeja,
Bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan, Sreesanth, Ramesh Powar, RP Singh, Vinay Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Balachandra Akhil, Deepak Chougule, Gnaneswara Rao, Raiphi Gomez, Sushant Marathe, Prasanth Padmanabhan, Tanmay Srivastava

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