Dhoni’s Pune eye revival at home against Kolkata
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be eager to break the sequence of reverses and get Rising Pune Supergiants’ campaign back on track when they lock horns with in-form Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.
Having moved to Pune this year from the banned Chennai Super Kings, where he enjoyed great success, Dhoni will be keen to replicate that in his new jersey with a bit of help from his teammates.
So far, it hasn’t been a smooth campaign for India’s twin World Cup winning captain, barring the tournament opener against defending champions against Mumbai Indians, which his side won comprehensively by nine wickets at the Wankhede Stadium.
The next three outings, including last night’s against Royal Challengers Bangalore in front of the home crowd, ended in defeats for Supergiants. Not the result a team comprising Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis and Ajinkya Rahane, besides Dhoni, deserves.
The overseas trio of Pietersen, Smith and Du Plessis failed miserably in the last game, and the Supergiants would hope for a much-improved performance from the batting heavyweights.
Thissara Perera and Rajat Bhatia, who almost guided RPS to a win on Friday with their brilliant hitting, will look to continue in similar fashion.
While Perera was the pick of the bowlers the other day, the likes of Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin and Murugan Ashwin will have to be among the wickets for Pune to harbour hopes of a victory at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
On the other hand, led by discarded India opener Gautam Gambhir, Kolkata Knight Riders have been on a roll, winning three of their four matches. Such has been their form that the two-time former champions continue to top the standings in the eight-team league. Barring the defeat against Mumbai Indians, the Knight Riders had been convincing in their wins.
Gambhir has been leading the team from the front and has held the orange cap for long. The left-handed batsman would be too happy to continue in same vein.
Manish Pandey down with chicken pox
Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday suffered a jolt as their top-order batsman Manish Pandey was diagnosed with chicken pox ahead of Sunday’s IPL match against Rising Pune Supergiants here.
“He was not feeling well since yesterday and as it turned out he’s down with chicken pox. He is here but did not attend the training today,” a team official said, as Pandey is likely to sit out for at least a few weeks.
The promising 26-year-old, who bats at the crucial no 3 position, scored a 29-ball 52 against Mumbai Indians in Kolkata.