Their semi-final hopes virtually over after Sunday’s match in Dharamsala, Kolkata Knight Riders would play for pride when they take on table-toppers Mumbai Indians in their final league match of the Indian Premier League here on Monday.
Even if KKR beat Mumbai on Monday at the Eden Gardens, it is unlikely that Sourav Ganguly-led side will make it to the semi-finals after Chennai Super Kings’ six-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in Dharamsala on Sunday.
KKR’s minus 0.456 net run rate will make them difficult to qualify for the semi-finals even if they beat Mumbai on Monday.
Mumbai have already booked a last-four berth and Chennai Super Kings made it to the semi-finals after their six-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in Dharamsala.
The winner of today’s match between Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers in New Delhi will join Mumbai and Chennai in semi-finals. Royals Challengers have 14 points from as many matches with a net run rate of plus 0.219.
Even if KKR collect 14 points after beating Mumbai on Monday, it is unlikely that their run rate would be better than that of Bangalore.
Their comprehensive eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals last night had kept their hopes alive but they might soon realise that it’s a little late for their resurgence in the tournament.
KKR began the season months in advance with much hype by roping in another World Cup winning coach in Dav Whatmore, bowling coach in Pakistani great Wasim Akram and inspirational Sourav Ganguly back as the captain.
But they have been too inconsistent to make a mark in the event.
“We have played some outstanding cricket, have been poor at times like the game against Punjab and Bangalore recently. We lost the way. We have let important moments slip,” skipper Sourav Ganguly has admitted.
Knight Riders would need a miracle to beat Mumbai, the most consistent side of the competition so far, with the required run-rate margin.
Besides the Sachin Tendulkar factor, Mumbai Indians have been the team to beat season as they are the big contenders for the title.
In his 21st year as an international cricketer, Tendulkar is as hungry for runs as a young kid, scoring with ease.
At top of the order, Tendulkar has been the leading scorer with 561 runs under his belt with an average of 51.00 that keeps him in contention for an Orange cap holder for the IPL 3.