KKR aim for home triumph against Rajasthan

Last Updated: Apr 17, 2011, 10:02 AM IST

Kolkata: The away battle won, Kolkata Knight Riders will aim to win the home contest as well when they take on Rajasthan Royals in the return leg match of the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

The Knight Riders on Friday stopped the promising Rajasthan Royals two-match winning run with a clinical nine-wicket victory in Jaipur.

The two sides now meet again at the Eden Gardens on Sunday with the hosts emerging overwhelming favourites this time. The new-look Knight Riders under Gautam Gambhir started the season IV campaign shakily against Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s Chennai Super Kings losing the battle from a winning position.

But the Knight Riders, who shunned local hero Sourav Ganguly, earned back the confidence of the city with an easy win over Deccan Chargers in their first home match.

From there on, Knight Riders looked unruffled against the more fancied Royals in their away match yesterday that saw some failed strategies by the wily Shane Warne.

The Aussie legend raised many eyebrows by keeping an in-form Shane Watson at number four in the batting order. With Watson not opening, Rajasthan Royals failed to get the blistering start that is so needed in Twenty20s.

Fresh from his brutal 185 not out with a record 15 sixes against Bangladesh, Watson scored a breezy 22 from 13 balls. Bangladeshi skipper Shakib-al-Hasan, who saw Watson wreck his side a few days ago, did the Aussie all-rounder in after being hit by two sixes as Royals gave the Knight Riders a target of 160.

Chasing the tricky target, the Knight Riders did not look in any trouble at all. Jacques Kallis was at his consistent best for his third consecutive half-century -- this time an unbeaten 80.

Gambhir played a skipper`s knock of 75 not out as he took charge on Warne who returned wicket-less conceding 28 for his four-over quota.

The duo showed tremendous character to settle the issue by nine wickets for their second consecutive victory. Form on their side, Knight Riders boast of a balanced and attacking line-up and have the best chance to fire with three consecutive home matches lined up next.

Gambhir came into his own in the last match and showed what he has been known for. Now with runs under his belt, the left-hander can surely look forward to open the batting with Kallis.

In Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan and Shakib, the Knight Riders` batting runs deep and looks devastating.

PTI