Twenty20 is considered to be a young mans game. However,that isnt always the case. When the Kolkata Knight Riders take on Rajasthan Royals in their IPL match at the Eden Gardens on Friday,its the players who are over 30 years of age who will take centrestage. The average age of each of these two sides,accounted by their last playing XI including the so called youngsters,is 34 for KKR and 30 in the case of the Royals.
Jacques Kallis,Brett Lee,Brendon McCullum,Laxmipathy Balaji and skipper Gautam Gambhir form the match-winning group for the hosts. Kallis is 36,Lee 35,McCullum,Balaji and Gambhir 31. The two supporting characters,Rajat Bhatia and Laxmi Ratan Shukla,too are in the autumn of their career.
Royals,on the other hand,are led by a man who is closer to 40 than to 30,Rahul Dravid. Apart from the Test legend who recently called time on his international commitments,the two mainstays of their batting,Owais Shah and Brad Hodge,are 34 and 38 respectively. Off-spinner Johan Botha is 30 and his spin bowling partner Brad Hogg has returned from retirement at 41. Siddharth Trivedi,the only uncapped Indian player to be retained by his franchise for all five seasons,has just crossed 30.
How theyve performed
And if you thought these two oldish sides were expected to finish at the bottom rung of the table,then expect differently. For following this battle of the mid-tablers (Royals and KKR are fourth and fifth respectively),one of them will have the chance to top IPL V with the Mumbai Indians,even if it is a little early in the season.
The loss against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday notwithstanding,the Royals are one of the most impressive teams in this edition. Owais played one of the best innings of the tournament so far,while Hogg,the veteran chinaman bowler,too was pretty impressive on his IPL debut with a double strike in one over. Hodge didnt play the last match,but made a winning contribution with the bat in their win in the first leg match against the Knight Riders. And Dravid so far has led astutely.
Meanwhile,KKR have shown that they have the team to beat anyone proving it once again with their convincing win over favourites RCB. Gambhir led from the front with a fantastic knock and Lee and Kallis created pressure upfront with the ball. Balaji,however,emerged as the hero with four wickets.
Our win against the Challengers gave us momentum,and now its important to keep it going. It will be a tough game against Rajasthan,who despite lacking stars are a very solid and experienced outfit, says Manoj Tiwary,a rare youngster in the KKR side.
KKR vs RR: Live on Set Max,8pm