KP eyes super send-off

Kevin Pietersen is determined to end his brief IPL stint on a high note when the Royal Challengers Bangalore face the Kolkata Knight Riders in Durban.

This will be Pietersen’s last fixture before he returns to the England squad ahead of their series against the West Indies. He said this week he wanted to leave on a high after what has been a disappointing start to 2009 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

They have won just one of their five matches, and discussions have already started as to who will take over as captain when Pietersen leaves.

It was originally going to be Jacques Kallis, the South African all-rounder, but coach Ray Jennings said that decision is no longer set in stone.

‘If Jacques plays, obviously he might be captain,’ said Jennings. ‘If he doesn’t play we have Mark Boucher, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid who are capable of leading the team. Obviously, after Pietersen we have to look at the performance of the side and then see who is the best guy to lead the side.’

The Kolkata Knight Riders, who are currently placed sixth in the rankings, had a captain conundrum of their own before the tournament started, with coach John Buchanan suggesting a multiple captaincy solution, although Brendan McCullum, the New Zealand wicketkeeper and big-hitting batsman, was given the job just two days before the start of the tournament.

After their big loss to the Mumbai Indians in Port Elizabeth on Sunday – their third of the season – McCullum acknowledged his team was simply not playing well enough to win. Only three batsmen got into double figures as they attempted to chase down a total of 188 to win.

‘We need to look deep inside ourselves, and find a way now,’ said McCullum. ‘We have no excuses and can make no excuses. We must start winning.’