Kolkata, May 4: Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors clash against Kolkata Knight Riders in a crucial tie at Eden Gardens on Saturday as the entire city gears up to cheer for the prince of Kolkata and his team despite playing against their home team.
Pune Warriors might not be in great form off late with four losses in a row, especially after a heart-breaking loss to Mumbai by a run, but Ganguly-led team is going to get maximum support from Dada's home crowd which might add as a morale booster for the team that is waiting for an opportunity to get back to winning ways.
Though police officials have not given permission to install giant screens across the city, Kolkata is gearing up despite rain threat to cheer for the Prince of Kolkata and his team as they take on the home team, Kolkata Knight Riders.
Pune's double loss to Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils suggest that the team needs to win at least five off the remaining six matches to qualify for the play-offs as they have lost 7 matches in the fifth edition of IPL, only team to have lost so many matches in the fifth edition.
Placed eighth in the points table, they need to play to their potential to beat Gautam Gambhir's XI, as they are comfortably seated at the second spot.
Michael Clarke's inclusion will help the team's batting while inconsistency in the top order has been a worry, as bowling also needs attention. Ashok Dinda, Ashish Nehra and the rest need to come good and Ganguly needs to choose the best possible XI.
Players to watch out for in Pune Warriors are Mithun Manhas, Michael Clarke, Ganguly, Steve Smith while Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Jacques Kallis, Sunil Narine are the key performers for KKR. While Pune's strength is in batting, KKR is good at bowling with Lee, Balaji and others being very effective with the ball.
Though bowlers reduced Mumbai Indians to 120/9 in their previous match at Pune, Ganguly's team failed to chase a modest total of 121, as they fell short by a run, increasing pressure on the team's top order .
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders seem to have suddenly regained their lost touch, as they have won their last three matches against Chennai, RCB and Chargers while a match against Chargers scheduled to play at Kolkata was abandoned due to rain on April 24, 2012.
Kolkata need a few more wins to ensure a play-off berth while Pune Warriors need to win at least five matches in order to qualify for the play-offs. With the entire city supporting Ganguly, can Eden prove lucky for Dada & Co to get back the winning momentum.
Pune Warriors: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Ashok Dinda, Callum Ferguson, Raiphi Gomez, Harpreet Singh, Dheeraj Jadhav, Kamran Khan, Murali Kartik, Harshad Khadiwale, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Nathan McCullum, Anustup Majumdar, Mithun Manhas, Angelo Mathews, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder, Marlon Samuels, Rahul Sharma, Steven Smith, Tamim Iqbal, Alfonso Thomas, Robin Uthappa, Shrikant Wagh, Luke Wright.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Manvinder Bisla (wicketkeeper), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Laxmipathy Balaji, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Marchant de Lange, Ryan ten Doeschate, Pradeep Sangwan, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Jaidev Unadkat, Iqbal Abdulla, Iresh Saxena, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Chirag Jani.