Knight Riders looks to bounce back against Supergiants

Kolkata Knight Riders will look to brush aside its setback against Gujarat Lions it suffered last week when it takes on a struggling Rising Pune Supergiants at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

That Adam Zampa is Supergiants' top wicket-taker despite playing only two games reflects the team's struggle in its bowling.   -  K. R. Deepak

Kolkata Knight Riders needs its loyal spectators’ support the most when it faces Rising Pune Supergiants, a side with its roots in the city, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Knight Riders, with 12 points from 10 outings, may not be left disappointed on this front. Only, it has to control the controllable and take a step towards achieving its primary objective of reaching the playoffs.

For a team served well by its openers, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, Knight Riders' disastrous start against Gujarat Lions the other night was shocking. The heroics of Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan may have revived the host’s innings but it could not prevent Gujarat Lions from recording a convincing five-wicket win.

Nevertheless, the adverse situation taught Knight Riders how to fight back in seaming conditions.

In bowling, Knight Riders will love to see more contribution from its pack of experienced spinners, including Piyush Chawla, Brad Hogg, Shakib and Sunil Narine. The availability of Narine, who was out with an injured finger, would be key. Knight Riders will also want its pacers, including Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Andre Russell, to be a little more effective.

Supergiants' weak link

Rising Pune Supergiants, which has just six points from 11 matches, has suffered due to injury to some of its top overseas performers and its inconsistent bowling. Ending up on the wrong side in some close matches has hurt the team too. That twice Supergiants has failed to defend 190-plus totals is an indication towards its weak link. Young Australian legspinner Adam Zampa, who has eight wickets from two matches, emerging as Supergiants' top wicket-taker bolsters the point.

The MS Dhoni-led side will depend on the good work of Thisara Perera, Ashok Dinda, Rajat Bhatia and Murugan Ashwin and hope Ravichandran Ashwin will realise his potential. Ajinkya Rahane may be one of the leading run-getters but he has not got enough support after the exit of Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis.

While Supergiants will look to regain some confidence, Knight Riders will be on its toes to cross one hurdle at a time.

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