Kolkata need kick start

The equation for the Kolkata Knight Riders is simple – the execution thereof is another matter entirely.

Brendon McCullum’s team has to win all of its remaining six matches in the Indian Premier League if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.

The first of those matches is on Tuesday against the pre-tournament favourites, the Delhi Daredevils, the second match of a double-header at Kingsmead in Durban.

Delhi themselves will want to regain the consistency that saw them win their first three matches but has lately deserted them as they have lost two out of their last three.

Delhi though would be optimistic about welcoming back their skipper Virender Sehwag who missed the 18-run defeat against the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday because of an injured finger.

However, this match is all about Kolkata and their quest for just their second victory of the tournament.

They have had a horrendous run characterised by the bad form of their leading players, a confused selection policy and just plain bad luck at times.

Somehow the senior players in the side need to motivate those around them and egg the team on to perform at its best.

The best player for Kolkata has been Brad Hodge who sits at second in the Orange Cap standings for leading runs-scorer with 230 runs. For good measure he has also picked up six wickets, but as it stands he is fighting a virtually lone battle.

With the exception of Ishant Sharma, who has taken nine wickets, Kolkata’s bowlers like their batsmen are conspicuous by their absence from the statistics rankings, providing a clear indication that players have not brought their best form to this year’s tournament.

An all round improvement is urgently needed against Delhi for another defeat would effectively end their quest for a semi-final berth with five matches still left to play.