Gautam Gambhir's coming to form is crucial to Kolkata Knight Riders' fortunes in the Indian Premier League, feels NDTV expert Dean Jones. Previewing Thursday's big clash between KKR and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Jones feels the momentum is with RCB and the return of Chris Gayle will make them more formidable.
KKR should get better contribution from Gambhir, Jacques Kallis and Yusuf Pathan. "It's going to be one of the best games of the tournament but I think RCB will like to make it three wins out of three," said Jones.
Gambhir's form has been a cause for worry. With back-to-back ducks against Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils, the former Indian opener is under pressure to score and KKR batting coach Woorkeri Raman is backing the left-handed Gambhir to emerge from the run drought.
"Gautam Gambhir is just one knock away from striking form," Raman said. "He is too good a player to allow this to happen for too long. Hopefully, he will get going sooner rather than later and once he gets going, you know what he is capable of. You know what has happened as far as results are concerned for KKR when he has got going. We are hoping that he will find his rhythm quickly," Raman told www.iplt20.com
Jones wants Kallis to play a bigger role for KKR. "Kallis is an interesting player. He should bowl all his four overs," said the former Australian batsman.
Raman said KKR were not worried about RCB's batting strength. If Gayle returns from injury, RCB will probably have the best top five in the competition with AB De Villiers, Yuvraj Singh and skipper Virat Kohli in their ranks.
"We have our plans in place, but at the end of the day, it will all come down to the execution of those plans on the field. The pitch out here is fully in favour of the batsmen and it depends what happens on the given day during a tight situation. Despite being a small ground, it can work in the bowler's favour sometimes. We did see quite a few catches going down, but eventually, it is about being there and keeping a positive frame of mind," said Raman.
Kallis feels KKR's middle-order is quite strong. Writing in his newspaper column, the former South African great said: "Fortunately, our own middle-order has a few fireworks, too, although I still believe we have one of the better bowling attacks in the tournament and that is where we will the majority of our games."
So, it's all set for a keen contest between bat and ball.