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KKR to take on MI

KKR to take on MI
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Kolkata (PTI) : Relegated to the bottom half after four defeats, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders must raise their game as they face another...

Kolkata (PTI) : Relegated to the bottom half after four defeats, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders must raise their game as they face another struggling giant Mumbai Indians in second of their three back-to-back home fixtures in the sixth Pepsi IPL here on Wednesday.

Both the teams find themselves on the same side of the fence having lost their last two matches respectively. But a cracker of contest is on offer especially given that it would be Mumbai Indians' veteran Sachin Tendulkar's 40th birthday. With the seniormost batsman showing glimpses of his class in his 47-ball 54 against Delhi Daredevils, the boisterous Eden crowd, which has been cheering for the Knight Riders so far, is set for a division of loyalty.

After back-to-back losses to Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, Knight Riders' title defence is in danger as they have slipped to seventh with four points and are struggling to make the top four.A In pursuit of the elusive title, Mumbai Indians (6 points) are no better as they lie sixth after their defeats to Rajasthan Royals and Daredevils.

But both the teams are a study in contrast. If the Knight Riders are struggling with their batting, the letdown for Mumbai has been their bowlers who failed to defend 162 the other day, handing Daredevils their first victory after six losses and thus allowing Virender Sehwag to explode back to form.A By their own admission, Knight Riders batsmen were playing "schoolboy cricket".

In a 11-member team, the Knight Riders are virtually down to five players (Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan and the spin duo of Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake) as the rest have not come good as yet. Capping yet another poor season, Yusuf Pathan's selection defies logic, while the trio of Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das and Rajat Bhatia are nothing but ordinary.

It came as no surprise when an angry skipper Gambhir said that his team played "schoolboy cricket" to suffer a four-wicket loss to Super Kings.With time running out fast for Gambhir's men, the Knight Riders might look at taking some drastic measures as they have some talented players such as Brendon McCullum, Manvinder Bisla and Iqbal Abdulla who are warming the dugout.

Perform or Perish: Gauti

mi2Kolkata: Livid with his team's below-par showing in the ongoing Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir has warned his nonperforming players to either perform or perish.

Defending champions KKR are presently languishing at the seventh place in the nine-team competition after losing four out of the six matches they played in the tournament so far.

"Playing as defending champions itself is the biggest motivation. Otherwise you should be sitting at home and watch others play," Gambhir said.

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