With their backs to wall,a desperate Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Perth Scorchers in a do-or-die penultimate group league encounter in the Champions League T20 on Wednesday. The IPL champions led by Gautam Gambhir have comprehensively lost their first two games against Delhi Daredevils and qualifiers Auckland Aces and are now in a must-win situation against the Australian side who would also like to notch up their first victory in the tournament.
However the job will be easier said than done for the Knights who have looked totally out of sorts on the bouncy South African pitches where there is also some seam movement on offer for the quicks. Having played their first two matches in Johannesburg and Cape Town,the KKR caravan now moves to Kingsmead which has one of the liveliest 22-yards in the history of the game.
Save Manoj Tiwary,who scored 33 against Daredevils,almost all the KKR batsmen have struggled against pace and bounce and Kingsmead strip will only compound the worries. Skipper Gambhirs poor form has also affected the teams chances and it will be interesting to watch as to how he copes against the pace and movement generated by the likes of Nathan Rimmington,Joe Mennie and Mitchell Marsh.
Battle of equals
Unbeaten so far,qualifiers Auckland Aces would be up against a tough challenge when they take on South African side Titans in their second Group A match. But devoid of any big stars,the Gareth Hopkins-led team has been a surprise package with its gritty performances. Titans are also interestingly a similar unit and it should be a battle of equals.
But being the home team,Titans will have the slight edge even though Auckland,making their CLT20 debut this year have also adjusted remarkably after arriving quite early for the tournament.
The Titans put on a clinical performanceagainst Perth Scorchers. Jacques Rudolph shone at the top with an unbeaten 83 that set the foundation for a big score and the bowlers did the rest of the job,stifling Perth batsmen with incisive spells in familiar conditions.
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