Calcutta / Cape Town: With their morale low after a 52-run drubbing at the hands of the Delhi DareDevils, IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders will look to bounce back when they take on qualifiers Auckland Aces in a Group A match of the Champions League T20 here Monday.
The Knight Riders had a disappointing start to their campaign after they were mauled by the DareDevils comfortably Saturday night.
Their bowlers did a decent job to restrict the DareDevils to 160 for eight but it was the failure of their batsmen which would rattle them, especially the top-order.
Opener Manvinder Bisla, Brendon McCullum and skipper Gautam Gambhir came a cropper against the DareDevils and they would have to do a lot of soul-searching before they take the field Monday.
Jacques Kallis’ hand injury, picked up during their opening match on Saturday, is also a concern. The all-rounder hasn’t suffered a fracture but has only a 50-50 chance of playing against Auckland Aces.
This is according to a member of the team management who sent an SMS to The Telegraph on Sunday evening.
The fact that the Knight Riders could score only 108 for seven in 20 overs, despite batting deep, will surely bother Gambhir and the onus would be on him to lead from the front, like he did during IPL-V earlier this year.
Auckland Aces, on the other hand, had a dream start to the tournament. The New Zealanders notched up two convincing victories during their qualifying matches.
Kyle Mills and Andre Adams have so far led the pace attack well, while left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira has troubled the batsmen and picked up four wickets so far.
In the batting department, opener Martin Guptill has been among the runs. His partner Lou Vincent has also got starts and he would look to convert them.