Kolkota need a spark

Can Gayle lift the Kolkata Knight Riders to victory in their face off against the Kings XI Punjab in Port Elizabeth?

Fortunes can be easily won or lost in IPL, as exemplified in the game on Friday between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Mumbai Indians, as Shah Rukh Khan’s team came close to upsetting one of the league’s favourites, the Mumbai Indians.

That will offer some hope to the Kolkata Knight Riders, who lost their fifth game of the tournament and are last in the league standings.

Kolkata’s bowling was vastly improved, with Chris Gayle the star returning with super economical figures of 1/21 off his four overs. Kolkata were given a boost when Gayle said he was considering staying on for at least two more days before flying to England to meet up with his teammates ahead of the Test series there.

Gayle said that he had yet to make a final decision on whether to play one more match before the Test, which starts on May 6.

It would mean the all-rounder would arrive in England the day before the first Test starts, but Gayle has shown great resilience in adapting to new circumstances quickly, and Kolkata captain Brendan McCullum would be happy to have him for the game against Punjab.

Punjab will be looking to bounce back after their defeat to the mid-table Royal Challengers Bangalore in Durban on Friday. They lost by just eight runs despite a hat-trick from Yuvraj Singh, who went on to score 50. They are without Ravi Bopara, who has returned home to play for England in the first Test against the
West Indies.

‘We didn’t get enough partnerships and Bangalore bowled really well,’ said Singh ‘It was not a difficult wicket to bowl on but they’re getting slower and a little harder to bat on.’