Kolkata: Their campaign in doldrums, Kolkata Knight Riders would be desperate to register a victory over a consistent Rajasthan Royals in the Pepsi IPL 6 on Friday in what's going to be the defending champions' last league fixture at the Eden Gardens. (JPN/Agencies)
Lopsided team selection, a flawed strategy coupled with a poor attitude have contributed to the team's dismal show this season, leading many to believe that last year's crown was nothing but a fluke.
Midway into the extravagant T20 League, when faltering teams like Delhi Daredevils have started to get their act together, the Knight Riders have refused to learn from the mistakes, with captain Gautam Gambhir being adamant in his approach.
The latest of their seven losses was against the resurgent Daredevils who registered their second successive win, third overall, by seven wickets at Raipur.
It was Knight Riders' fifth defeat from as many away games. They now have an uphill task of winning six more matches if they want to earn a ticket to the playoffs.
That they have three away games, including one in Mumbai, and two 'home' games (vs RCB and PWI) at an unfamiliar venue -- Ranchi -- will make the case all the more difficult, and it will be a real test of character for skipper Gambhir.
On the other hand, Rahul Dravid has led the side by example so far and backed his little-known judicious-spending team to perfection, reminding one of what Shane Warne did in their triumphant season one (2008).
Rajasthan's back-to-back victories have earned them 12 points from nine matches and they are comfortably placed at third position in the table.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Manvinder Bisla (wk), Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sumit Narwal, Brett Lee, Sunil Narine, Laxmipathy Balaji, Brendon McCullum, Ryan ten Doeschate, Ryan McLaren, Brad Haddin, Manoj Tiwary, Iqbal Abdulla, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Pradeep Sangwan, Sachithra Senanayake, Sarabjit Ladda and Paras Dogra.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, Stuart Binny Owais Shah, James Faulkner, Ajit Chandila, Siddharth Trivedi, Sreesanth, Brad Hogg, Fidel Edwards, Kevon Cooper, Kushal Perera, Samuel Badree, Shaun Tait, Ankit Chavan, Ashok Maneria, Dishant Yagnik, Harmeet Singh, Kumar Borsea, Pravin Thambe, Rahul Shukla, Sachin Baby, Shreevats Goswami, Vikramjeet Malik.
Kolkata: Their campaign in doldrums, Kolkata Knight Riders would be desperate to register a victory over a consistent Rajasthan Royals in the Pepsi IPL 6 on Friday in what's going to be the defending champions' last league fixture at the Eden Gardens.