Kolkata take on Mumbai today

KOLKATA: Their semifinal hopes have been revived after the win over Rajasthan Royals but the path still remains difficult for Kolkata Knight Riders as they will be up against table-toppers Mumbai Indians in their final league match of the Indian Premier League on Monday.

Their hope and late resurgence may well fizzle out today if the results go against them. They will have a keen eye on the Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab match, which is some sort of a quarterfinal, for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men.

If Chennai beat Punjab in the first match of the day, then Knight Riders can turn their eye on the next edition.

Only a win by Punjab will keep them alive as then it will boil down to the net run-rate factor.

The run rate will again depend on the outcome of the match between Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers, the last match of the day.

If Delhi beat Deccan, Knight Riders will only need to go past the latter’s net run rate, which is currently -0.363. But in case of a Deccan win, Kolkata will have an improbable task of going past Delhi’s net run rate which is much healthier at +0.066.

Their comprehensive eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals last night had kept their hopes alive but they might soon realise that it’s a little late for their resurgence in the tournament.

KKR began the season months in advance with much hype by roping in another World Cup winning coach in Dav Whatmore, bowling coach in Pakistani great Wasim Akram and inspirational Sourav Ganguly back as the captain.

But they have been too inconsistent to make a mark in the event.

"We have played some outstanding cricket, have been poor at times like the game against Punjab and Bangalore recently. We lost the way. We have let important moments slip," skipper Sourav Ganguly has admitted.

Knight Riders would need a miracle to beat Mumbai, the most consistent side of the competition so far, with the required run-rate margin.

Besides the Sachin Tendulkar factor, Mumbai Indians have been the team to beat season as they are the big contenders for the title.

In his 21st year as an international cricketer, Tendulkar is as hungry for runs as a young kid, scoring with ease and command.

At top of the order, Tendulkar has been the leading scorer with 561 runs under his belt with an average of 51.00 that keeps him in contention for an Orange cap holder for the IPL 3.

In the middle order, Ambati Rayudu, Jean-Paul Duminy and their big signing Kieron Pollard have made them a formidable unit. Their bowling is also equally threatening with the fiery opening pair of Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga, while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has given them the variety.

Everything going against them, Knight Riders who had begun their season with a lot of promise, will look to sign off with their heads high in front of their home crowd. (PTI)

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