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Holders KKR take on former champs RR in do-or-die game


Mumbai: In a do-or-die IPL cricket match, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Rajasthan Royals as the race for the play-off berths hots up at the Brabourne Stadium, here tomorrow.

Knight Riders, who lost a crucial game against Mumbai Indians last night, are in a must-win situation in their final league match to seal a final-four spot.

The Gautam Gambhir-led side failed to score 12 runs off the final over, which would have ensured their play-off entry. Now it will be a huge task for KKR to dust off that disappointment and take on the might of Royals, who also need a win in their last league match to get into the top-four.

While KKR have 15 points from 13 matches, Royals have one point less and in the crucial contest the team that keeps its nerves will invariably go through to the last four.

Knight Riders seemed to have things well under control in their previous game till the last five overs of the MI innings, when their bowlers conceded a whopping 72 runs after having reduced the hosts to 79 for four.

The death bowling is one key area the team needs to improve on, conceded former Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan after their heart-wrenching loss.

“Today we started well with the ball. It was in the way we finished in the last five, that part we can obviously improve,” Shakib, who bowled superbly to take 2 for 22 with his left arm spin, said after the match.

KKR batsmen let off good starts against MI to leave things a bit too late and in the end even Yusuf Pathan’s well-made 52 was unable to get the team over the line. Shakib admitted the follies of their batsmen.

“I thought whoever gets in should also finish the job, that’s what we didn’t do. Some of our guys were set but could not go on and finish the game. These are some of the areas we can improve on,” he added.

One of the bright spots in yesterday’s loss for the title holders was the way big-hitting Yusuf batted in his 31-ball knock. Though he fell off the first ball of the last over, he showed a welcome trend of biding his time before unleashing the big shots.

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