Lynn boost for KKR ahead of crucial tie

“Chris Lynn trained this afternoon. He had a couple of hits at the nets in Kolkata before coming here. He is progressing quite nicely. He could well be available for selection,” says the team’s assistant coach Simon Katich.

KKR’s Chris Lynn looks like a possible choice for the games against RCB.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Life is never easy in the fast lanes of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Here a pauper on paper often turns a king, while a favourite returns home empty-handed. That’s how it has been for the last 10 years. Things look no different this time either.

Coming into the tournament as the favourite, a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has found itself reeling at the bottom of the table following nine straight defeats. Despite having some of the biggest names of world cricket — Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson, besides skipper Virat Kohli — in its ranks, it has failed miserably.

Even though nothing seems to be going in its favour, the side will at least be hoping to end its campaign at home with a consolatory win against a rather formidable Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the M. Chinnnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.

Not just pride, Kohli’s men would also eye revenge. After all, it was a humiliating 49-run collapse against KKR that saw the Bangalore outfit losing the steam. At the Eden Gardens a fortnight back, the most sought after team meekly surrendered against the Gautam Gambhir-led side. That, many feel, was the main reason behind RCB’s brain-fade in the tournament.

While it is a dead-rubber for the host, KKR has all to play for. Despite a thunderous start to the tournament, the side suffered two consecutive defeats, which suddenly put its hopes of a top-two finish in the group stage in a spot. Gambhir’s men desperately need a couple of big wins to sail through to the play-offs.

But then, KKR must be a happy camp as one of its major foreign recruits Chris Lynn will be available for selection. “He trained this afternoon. He had a couple of hits at the nets in Kolkata before coming here. He is progressing quite nicely. He could well be available for selection,” the team’s assistant coach Simon Katich told Sportstar. Lynn, who got off to a flying start in the IPL, missed a major part of the league after a shoulder injury. While Lynn looks like a possible choice for Sunday’s game, things are not quite clear with Robin Uthappa yet.

READ: Simon Katich on IPL franchises

Uthappa suffered a niggle a couple of games back, and the management is yet to take a final call on him. “He is going to train today and see where he is at. We are going to assess the situation and take a call,” Katich said about Uthappa.

While the Kolkata players sweated it out at the nets on Saturday evening, it was an optional practice session for RCB. Though Kohli and other top guns skipped the session, some of the players played tennis ball cricket with the fans as a promotional activity, before hitting the nets for a light session. Team sources, on their part, have indicated that there is no injury scare in the team and no major shake-up is expected in the team composition on Sunday.

If that gives one a feeling that the excitement has fizzled out in India’s silicon city, it’s certainly not true.

Despite the home team’s dismal outing, the fans have left no stone unturned to cheer for the side and if the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) officials are to be believed, Sunday’s game is all set to be a full house.

In a season where nothing has gone its away, Kohli’s men have at least got the backing of the fans. Whatever has been the result, they have come out in large numbers to cheer for the players. And, as RCB plays its last home match of the season, the picture isn’t changing anyway!

Home is, after all, where the heart is!

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