Kolkata, Apr 14: Kolkata Knight Riders will be confident as Gambhir and Co will bank on home advantage and two consecutive wins when they take on Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, April 15.
IPL 5: Schedule, Results, Points Table
After losing the opening game to Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders have managed to comeback rather strongly, winning back to back matches, first against Royal Challengers Bangalore and a revenge against Rajasthan Royals on Friday, will give them a much needed boost taking on the bottom placed Punjab.
Gilchrist's Punjab registered their first victory in IPL 5 by beating Pune Warriors, but batting remains a concern as the Kings of Punjab failed to chase twice, losing the first two matches of the season. Gilchrist too, failed to cross the 30-run mark and fellow Australian David Hussey is yet to score big in the tournament.
Similar batting problems in the top-order continue to haunt Gambhir's side. Veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis remained inconsistent with the runs and pretty ordinary with the ball as well, while wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla is favoured instead of Kiwis wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum.
Punjab's Paul Valthaty, who starred in the previous edition of IPL, flopped during the first three games but Shaun Marsh's valuable innings and Dimitri Mascarenhas brilliance with the bowl on Thursday against Pune, may up their confidence playing away from home.
Match-winning performances from a few players could be the difference between the two sides.
Knight Riders bowling attack looked shaky during the first two games but have comeback well to restrict opponent to average totals. L Balaji's four wickets against Royal Challengers steered them to their first victory while an all-round performance from Bangladesh national Shakib Al Hasan helped them edge past Rajasthan Royals.
English pacer Dimitri Mascarenhas five-wicket haul against Pune Warriors and Harmeet Singh Bansal are the pick of the bowlers for Kings XI Punjab. Indian fast bowler Praveen Kumar remains wicket-less while Piyush Chawla, James Faulkner continue their inconsistent run with the ball.
The Eden Gardens pitch awaits another low scoring game with Kolkata confident in front of home fans and will look to continue their winning streak against a side who have lost both their away games.
Punjab will look to take the positives from their first win and have to play to their full potential to overcome a side which looks strong only at home.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Jacques Kallis, Manvinder Bisla (wicketkeeper), Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Brett Lee, Rajat Bhatia, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Chirag Jani, Debabrata Das, Iqbal Abdulla, Iresh Saxena, Jaidev Unadkat, Pradeep Sangwan, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Brendon McCullum, Eoin Morgan, Marchant de Lange and Sunil Narine.
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist (captain and wicketkeeper), Rajagopal Sathish, Love Ablish, Amit Yadav, Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Siddharth Chitnis, Paras Dogra, Ryan Harris, David Hussey, Praveen Kumar, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Shaun Marsh, Abhishek Nayar, Nathan Rimmington, Nitin Saini, Shalabh Srivastava, Sunny Singh, Paul Valthaty, Stuart Broad, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Ramesh Powar, Harmeet Singh, Parvinder Awana, Azhar Mahmood, Vipul Sharma, James Faulkner, David Miller.