Pune Warriors look to spoil Knight Riders` party

Updated: May 18, 2011, 17:26 PM IST

Mumbai: Already out of the IPL play-off race having suffered 8 defeats in 12 games, Pune Warriors would be looking to restore some pride and play party poopers when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders.

While the Warriors have blown away any chance of making it to the four-team play-offs in this edition of the IPL, the Knight Riders are well poised to make it to the second phase of the tournament, having won seven out of 12 games with a total points tally of 14.

And a victory over the struggling Warriors would ease their way to advance to the play-off stage but they would certainly be aware of the pitfalls that the Pune outfit is capable of creating in their way.

A defeat for the Knight Riders would make their position shaky with Kings XI Punjab creeping up the table in grand fashion with a string of victories. Punjab have sent out strong signals to the currently placed top-four teams in the table, following their massive 111-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore last night.

Tomorrow`s match to be played at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai takes on an extra edge with Sourav Ganguly playing against his old team.

The former India skipper would be eager to stamp his authority on the proceedings and send a message to the owners of the KKR, who discarded him after three years.

The Kolkata outfit has blown hot and cold this season. A string of wins has been followed by a few losses, including the one against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous game.

But they have had enough time to recover from that defeat and now would be anxious to hit the ground running and vanquishing the Warriors who arrested a seven-match losing sequence with a two back-to-back victories before suffering a huge defeat at home.

The Knight Riders` batting has revolved around five key players in captain Gautam Gambhir (312 runs from 12 games), leading run-scorer Jacques Kallis (358 from 12), Manoj Tiwary who has been the most consistent with a tally of four under 300 runs at a fine average of 74-plus, Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan.

Kolkata`s bowling has been sustained by spinners Pathan (11 wickets) and left-armer Iqbal Abdulla (14), but the biggest disappointment has been Brett Lee who has neither been incisive (4 wickets in 12 games) nor economical (236 runs conceded at over 7 per over and a none-too-impressive average of 59 per wicket).

Lee, would thus be eager to set things right on a track that has offered more bounce during the season than the one at the Knight Riders home venue, Eden Gardens.