Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Preview: Match 5 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Auckland Aces
Will KKR bounce back against confident Aces?
The Kolkata Knight Riders clash with the Auckland Aces in Match 5 of the Karbonn CLT20 2012.
The Auckland Aces would like to believe they have an upper hand over their Asian opponents; they arrived in South Africa at least a fortnight before the Qualifiers, and then beat both their opponents convincingly to sail into the main event. The Kolkata Knight Riders on the other hand will want to quickly recover from the thrashing they received in their previous outing. The IPL champions showed no fight in the match against the Delhi Daredevils, and they will need to come up with an improved performance if they are to compete.
Monday, October 15, 2012, 5:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. IST)
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
If the Kolkata Knight Riders are to do well, they need big runs from their skipper Gautam Gambhir. The southpaw was in prime form in IPL 2012 and was the team’s best batsman by a margin; his aggregate of 590 runs in the IPL season was close to 200 runs more than the next best performer in the KKR ranks. However, he has looked far from convincing in recent times, and he will realize he needs to return to the IPL 2012 form immediately. On pitches in South Africa, where fast bowlers will certainly have some assistance, it is important that the likes of Kallis and McCullum also make their experience count and convert it to runs.
The mystery spinner Sunil Narine proved in the match against the Delhi Daredevils that he wasn’t too dependant conditions and had the skills to succeed in all kinds of conditions. He will continue to be a vital cog in the KKR’s bowling plans.
The Auckland Aces’ Azhar Mahmood single-handedly demolished Hampshire in his team’s previous fixture. The 37-year-old took five wickets and then returned to blast the Hampshire bowlers to all parts of the park to lead his team to a resounding victory. He will want to carry that form into this match too.
Martin Guptill and Lou Vincent are two very important characters in the Auckland Aces batting plans. Both batsmen got off to starts in both the innings and will believe the next big knock is just around the corner.
This match will be the first time these two teams will be meeting in a Twenty20 match.
Azhar Mahmood’s 5 for 24 and 55 not out was the first time a player had scored a half-century and taken 5 wickets in a CLT20 match.
Brendon McCullum holds the record for the highest individual score in Twenty20 cricket. He scored an unbeaten 158 in the very first game of the Indian Premier League, back in 2008.
Both teams will head to Durban for their next fixtures. On October 17, the Auckland Aces will challenge hosts Titans in the afternoon match, while the Kolkata Knight Riders will square-off against the Perth Scorchers later in the evening.