IPL 2013: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians – Live IPL Score
If they had hoped that the string of three matches at home would put them back on rails, all the Kolkata Knight Riders are seeing now is the home truth.
That they just don’t have enough men in their batting line-up willing to put up their hands.
If the Knights snatched defeat from the jaws of victory the other night in Mohali, they collapsed against the Super Kings at the Eden Gardens on Saturday to give their bowlers very little to defend.
Perhaps more importantly, the four-wicket defeat had their bastion breached. In a game where approach and attitude can make all the difference, Gautam Gambhir’s men have conceded psychological ground.
As they brace for battle against the Mumbai Indians, a win will be crucial for more reasons than one.
Having lost four out of their six matches, a defeat can see the defending champions drift dangerously closer to the point of no-return. A win will help them regain some of that aura of invincibility that they carry on Eden’s slow tracks.
Significantly, even as they drifted towards defeat on Saturday, their first loss at home this season, the KKR bowling was able to create visions of victory. The attack, led by ‘mystery spinner’ Sunil Narine, has actually got better with Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayeke coming in with a few tricks of his own. If only the batting would click.
The misfiring Yusuf Pathan’s elevation to the opening slot did see the desperation desert his batting for some time, and KKR may want to persist with that plan.
While skipper Gambhir has been a consistent performer, the early dismissals of Eoin Morgan and Jacques Kallis can be debilitating for a team with a weak middle-order. The likes of Manoj Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia and Laxmi Ratan Shukla must quickly come to the party if KKR are to make the sort of impact they made last year.
The wild swings that has been the manifestation of the desperation within must be replaced by a more calculated and clinical approach. Even in this format, merit of the ball matters.
It’s bad news for KKR that Sachin Tendulkar is back among runs. Even as Mumbai Indians sweat over skipper Ricky Ponting’s form, they can rely on a line-up that also has the likes of Kieron Pollard, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu.
The bowling is surely Mumbai’s weak link, and their inability to stop the then winless Delhi from making mockery of a decent total will have put doubts in their mind.
Lasith Malinga is not his old fiery self, and the team management’s decision to have Mitchell Johnson sitting out in Delhi was self-inflected damage. The Aussie should be back firing in his left-arm stuff.