Kolkata will look to keep their slim chances of getting into the knockouts alive with a big win over the Pune Warriors. The Pune team have shown an incredible propensity to lose games from winning positions, and while they will continue to be a threat, the opposition knows that they will somehow find ways to lose.
Pune do have the batting firepower, but their bowling is ordinary and appears as if in the day of laser guided missiles, they are firing rifles. So the Warriors find themselves hopelessly outgunned. They may ambush somebody and catch them by surprise, and when they do that, then that will be a surprise too. The sad part is that none of the bowlers seem to be learning at all and this despite having Allan Donald as their coach.
The quicker bowlers are getting more and more pulverised and costing more and more runs. The batting has become dependent on skipper Finch, and if he fails, then the score they put up is not much of a challenge. Uthappa has started to come good and Yuvraj is getting starts but not going on for a game changing innings.
Kolkata were simply outplayed by Mumbai who are getting better with every game. The balance of the Mumbai team is terrific and once the openers start to contribute, then they will be a side to fear. It will be quite interesting to see the line of attack that will be used against Kieron Pollard, for, like Gayle, he wants the ball pitched in his arc. Both have now been targeted by short pitched bowling and while it will not always be successful because of the slow wickets in India, it will at least keep them on the backfoot to some extent.
The Kings XI Punjab were rescued and kept in the hunt by an incredible innings by David Miller. He simply smashed everything out of sight and it was as good a batting display of clean hitting as has been seen in all the editions of the IPL.
What the lesser known South Africans are doing is showing that they are better value than some other overseas players who have been pushed into various teams by their coaches. There is also Colin Ingram from South Africa who surprisingly did not find favour with any of the franchises as also Hashim Amla who has a terrific record in limited overs cricket.
As Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane have shown, straight batted shots also work well and even Miller’s magnificent hitting was with a straight bat. The Royals don’t have a great record away from home, but if they put it across the Kings then they will pretty much assure themselves of a place in the knockouts.
Professional Management Group