Home team Titans have had an excellent run in the tournament so far, with two wins in two games. Another victory and they will be through to the semis, and deservedly so. Their opponents in the game, Kolkata Knight Riders, have already been knocked out of the tournament. They won’t have much inspiration to do well on Sunday, which should enhance Titans’ chance of doing well. All KKR can do now is play spoilsport for other teams.
Team Titans analysis
Along with Lions and Sydney Sixers, Titans have been the form team in the tournament. Being a home side, they have had the advantage of knowing the conditions and, to their credit, they have utilised the same. Almost everyone in their batting line up has been among the runs. Jacques Rudolph has been their standout player, having registered big scores in both Titans’ win. Henry Davids and Farhaan Behardien also got runs against Auckland in the thumping triumph.
Even though Titans do not have big names in their bowling arsenal, each of their bowlers shone against Auckland. Ethy Mbhalati and Alfonso Thomas snared three wickets each while Cornelius de Villiers, Eden Links and Roelef van der Merwe kept things tight apart from being among the wickets.
Team KKR analysis
In spite of having big names in their squad, the IPL champs have been a major disappointment in the series. Their batting floundered in both the games. Only Manvinder Bisla and Brendon McCullum have got some runs. They needed a lot more out of skipper Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary and Shakib Al Hasan. Runs from Yusuf Pathan would have also helped, but being so out of form, he was asked to bat down the order, which also did not aid the team’s cause.
The bowling has been a completely one-man show. While Sunil Narine has continued to trouble opponents, he has found no support from the rest. Laxmi Balaji has had an atrocious tournament going for too many runs. Among the others Shakib Al Hasan has also struggled while Jacques Kallis and Pradeep Sangwan haven’tmanaged to do much as well. They would have been disappointed that their third match was washed out, but have only themselves to blame.
Considering KKR have nothing play for, Titans would be confident of overcoming Gambhir’s men. It remains to be seen whether KKR can inspire themselves.
--By A Cricket Analyst