Kolkata Knight Riders will have revenge on mind when they take on Somerset in their opening Group match of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament on Sunday.
During their last encounter on Wednesday, which was a qualifying match for the main event, Kolkata failed to get past Somerset but they still managed to make the main tournament on the basis of a better run rate.
The Shah Rukh Khan-owned outfit will try to settle scores with the English club, which had gone into the clash as underdogs but managed to beat the high-profile Kolkata side by 11 runs.
Kolkata are expected to have their regular captain Gautam Gambhir back in the mix after he missed the qualifiers due to a concussion he picked up during India’s tour of England.
Led by South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis in Gambhir’s absence, Kolkata Knight Riders had a difficult time on the field as none of their batsmen managed to convert good starts.
While Ryan ten Doeschate and Manoj Tiwari showed spark, big names such as Yusuf Pathan and Kallis himself failed with the bat. Manvinder Bisla too couldn’t do much and it put pressure on the middle-order.
Among the bowlers, Australian speedster Brett Lee and youngster Jaidev Unadkat claimed a couple of wickets but they were not threatening enough to take the team to victory in qualifying match.
Spinners Iqbal Abdulla, Shakib Al Hasan and part-time tweaker Pathan too failed to impress and could not claim a single wicket.
The onus would now be on Kallis and Gambhir, if he is fit to play, to inspire the team if they hope to avenge their loss at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Somerset, on the other hand, have played as a team and beautifully crafted their way into the main tournament with performances which improved with each match.
After edging out Auckland Aces in their first qualifying match last Tuesday, Somerset came up with a splendid show against Kolkata.
Their batsmen Peter Trego (70) and Roelof van der Merwe are in form and helped Somerset post a challenging 166 for six wickets.
Somerset also exploited the wicket better than the Kolkata outfit as van der Merwe came back to claim two crucial wickets and aided by Max Waller, who took two for 23, set up the win for Somerset.
Fellow spinners Arul Suppiah, Murali Kartik and medium-pacer Trego also accounted for a wicket each to help the team’s cause and skipper Aflonso Thomas will expect another brilliant performance for his boys.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Iqbal Abdulla, Shakib Al Hasan, L Balaji, Rajat Bhatia, Manvinder Bisla, Gautam Gambhir, Brad Haddin, Jacques Kallis (C), Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Yusuf Pathan, Shami Ahmed, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary, Jaidev Unadkat.
Somerset: Alfonso Thomas (C), Alex Barrow, Nick Compton, Adam Dibble, George Dockrell, James Hildreth, Chris Jones, Murali Kartik, Steve Kirby, Craig Meschede, Steve Snell, Arul Suppiah, Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe, Gemaal Hussain.