Durban: With their backs to wall, a desperate Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Perth Scorchers in a do-or-die penultimate group league encounter in the Champions League T20 here today.
The IPL champions led by Gautam Gambhir have comprehensively lost their first two games against Delhi Daredevils and qualifiers Auckland Aces and are now in a must-win situation against the Australian side who would also like to notch up their first victory in the tournament.
However the job will be easier said than done for the Knights who have looked totally out of sorts on the bouncy South African pitches where there is also some seam movement on offer for the quicks. Having played their first two matches in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the KKR caravan now moves to Kingsmead which has one of the liveliest 22-yards in the history of the game.
Save Manoj Tiwary, who scored 33 against Daredevils, almost all the KKR batsmen have struggled against pace and bounce and Kingsmead strip will only compound the worries of Gambhir and Co. Skipper Gambhir’s poor form has also affected the team’s chances and it will be interesting to watch as to how he copes against the pace and movement generated by the likes of Nathan Rimmington, Joe Mennie and Mitchell Marsh.
In the bowling department, Brett Lee is expected to make a comeback in the playing XI while Jacques Kallis, Sunil Narine and Brendon McCullum are certain to retain their places in the line-up. Seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji’s form is also a big concern for the Knights as he has hardly been effective in the two matches so far. May be his lack of pace, Balaji’s tendency only bowl slower deliveries makes him a tad predictable as batsmen have played him with consumate ease.