Match 45 Preview: Kochi Tuskers Kerala vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Kolkata Knight Riders have met before when Kochi was having the dream run at the initial phase. Now, KKR is knocking the door of Sweet 16 and booming with confidence, while Kochi needs to fight their Home Disadvantage to get closer to knockout cut-off in the match today.

They met at Kolkata in 22nd match of the tournament, and Kochi emerged winner in the low scoring match. Jadeja was the key difference among both teams. Captain Mahela got rewarded with player of the match for his shrewd captaincy that resulted in the wiin.

Head-to-Head: KTK 1, KKR 0

    Kochi Tuskers def Knight Riders by 6 runs.

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. But, against Kochi Tuskers their batsmen could not even chase a target of 132. In the last match, ex-Kinght Gayle-force marooned KKR with a century. In Kotla, Gambhir’s bowlers managed to defeat Delhi Daredevils in low scoring match. In the last match, Gambhir’s men swallowed the strong Kings XI team. Their last match resulted in another confident victory against Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad.

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. Against Knight Riders, Kochi bowlers earned a remarkable victory defending low target. Kochi batsmen failed miserably in the absence of Brendum McCullum and Rajasthan Royals thumped them. Against Deccan Chargers, they reached another low by scoring third lowest total of IPL and losing the match, which they should have won. They lost the last match against DD. After a string of defeats, finally Kochi could win their 4th match, easily thumping Delhi Daredevils at Kotla.

Player’s Performances
KKR player’s performance index shows Kallis, Gambhir and Tiwary in tremendous form. Pathan has also managed to join 100-club. Their bowlers are in tremendous form taking 47 wickets in 9 matches.

Kochi’s player’s performance index shows McCullum, Jadeja, Hodge and captain Mahela in tremendous forum. Even Parthiv Patel has joined the 100-club. Their bowlers have shown quick improvement taking 38 wickets in 9 matches.

Who Will Win!!
With 8 points from 9 matches, Kochi need to gear up. They must win 4 out of remaining 5 matches to have a clear chance for Knockout. KKR needs just 2 more wins out of 5 matches. But for KKR the match will be more about revenge rather than points. For Kochi its desperation time, KKr is more consistent since they last met in the initial phase of tournament. Going by the poor track record at home of Kochi Tuskers, and current consistent form of Knight Riders, KKR should sail home easily.

Key Battles
McCullum/Mahela vs KKR bowlers
McCullum and Mahela 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.

Yusuf Pathan vs Jadeja
The ex-teammates (from Rajasthan Royals) have shown good form in current season. Unfortunately Mahela is not utilising Jaedja’s batting potential much, for the reasons best known to him despite his team losing so many matches. Pathan has made a slow start to the tournament, but now with two MOMs is again becoming one of the most dangerous players of IPL. The first battle at Kolkata was won by Jadeja. Is it Pathan’s time to pay back at Kochi!! The winner of the battle will see his side winning the match too.

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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