This week’s Talking Cricket podcast looks at the greatest IPL imports, past and present, while discussing what makes a foreign player appealing both on and off the pitch.
Host Barny Read and regulars Joy Chakravarty and Ajit Vijaykumar then chat about Pakistan’s ongoing ban from the league and how the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks changed the relationship between the two neighbours so much both politically and, as a result, in cricketing terms.
They then remember the now defunct Champions League T20 tournament, reliving how that was also effected by the Mumbai atrocity and how it was a doomed product from the start.
From there, the team ponder whether the CLT20 could ever make a return to cricket’s packed calendar.
Kolkata Knight Riders will host Rising Pune Supergiant at the Eden Gardens in Match 41 of the 2017 IPL on Wednesday.
Kolkata will want to get back to winning ways, having suffered just their third loss of the season versus Sunrisers Hyderabad as they came up against David Warner in full form.
On the other hand, Pune are coming off a thrilling win against Gujarat Lions where Ben Stokes struck an unbeaten century after coming into bat when the score read 10-3.
Ahead of the match, we have the latest team news, start time and date, as well as how you can watch all the action from the UAE.
DATE, TIME, VENUE INFO
Date: May 3, 2017 (Wednesday)
Time: 18:30 GST, 20:00 local time (IST), 14:30 GMT
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
WHERE TO WATCH, LIVE STREAMING INFO
TV: UAE – OSN Sports Cricket HD, India – Sony Six, Sony Six HD (English), Sony Max, Sony Max HD 3 (Hindi), UK – Sky Sports
Online streaming: hotstar.com, Hotstar app (in India only)
TEAM NEWS, SQUADS, PREDICTED XIs
KKR SQUAD: Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Colin de Grandhomme
The Knight Riders bowlers didn’t have the greatest of days against the Sunrisers and will be keen to bounce back at home where they have generally bowled brilliantly this season.
Sheldon Jackson struggled to get the big shots away in the last match and that might tempt the KKR team management to bring Suryakumar Yadav back into the playing XI.
PREDICTED KKR XI: Narine, Gambhir (c), Uthappa (wk), Pandey, Pathan, Jackson, de Grandhomme, Woakes, Kuldeep, Coulter-Nile, Umesh
RPS SQUAD: MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ashok Dinda, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Adam Zampa, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Usman Khawaja, Mayank Agarwal, Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Dan Christian, Milind Tandon, Rahul Tripathi, Manoj Tiwary, Lockie Ferguson, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Washington Sundar
Pune’s turnaround this season has been quite extraordinary. After losing three out of their first four matches, they have won five out of the last six and are in a very good position to qualify for the playoffs.
Unless there are any fitness issues, they are unlikely to change their XI from the one that beat Gujarat.
PREDICTED RPS XI: Rahane, Tripathi, Smith (c), Dhoni (wk), Tiwary, Stokes, Christian, Sundar, Thakur, Unadkat, Tahir
(Last five matches – with latest match first)
KKR: L W W W L
RPS: W W L W W
Kolkata to make use of home advantage and get the win.
After Ben Stokes almost single handedly turned what looked like an embarrassing defeat for Rising Pune Supergiant into a comprehensive victory against Gujarat Lions on Monday night, captain Steve Smith divulged to the media a conversation he had with the team owners before the players auction of the 10th Indian Premier League (IPL).
Smith said: “We were very excited to get him. I had said before the auction to the guys just do what you have to to get him.”
The franchise owners did exactly that. They broke the bank for the swashbuckling England and Durham all-rounder.
In hindsight, the Rs14.5 crore ($2.16m) shelled out – the most ever paid to an overseas signing in the history of the tournament and the fourth most expensive purchase in an auction ever – appears to be fetching Pune just the kind of return on investment they were hoping for.
Despite having just a Rs19.1 crore ($2.84m) purse left for the auction, Pune decided to take a huge gamble. By spending nearly 76 per cent of their available money on just one player, it was a classic case of putting all their eggs in one basket.
After a not-so-impressive debut last year, one expected them to spruce up their side by adding a couple of quality bowlers and at least one more batsman. Instead, they went for a Superman all-rounder who could do all that by himself.
A cold, hard look at Stokes’ statistics may not sound that impressive. Thanks to that electrifying knock of 103 not out, he is now 18th in the list of most runs in this IPL at 230 in eight matches. He has a wonderful strike rate of 147.43, but again he is 18th on the list of explosive batsmen in the tournament. He has taken just six wickets so far and is 28th in the category, and his economy rate of 7.62 is good in Twenty20s, but there are 22 other bowlers who have been more miserly.
But stats alone can never determine the contribution that a player makes, especially in this shortest format of cricket. It really is about having the right impact at the right moment, and Stokes has delivered for his team time and again in that department. There is no stat category in IPL for having the maximum impact in a match but if there was, the 25-year-old would figure high on that list.
Apologies to the audacity of David Warner in making mincemeat of the Kolkata Knight Rider bowlers the other night when he smashed 126 in just 59 balls, but I’d rank Stokes’ unbeaten century against Gujarat as the best of the four hit in this edition. The reason is simple, the other three (Warner, Hashim Amla and Sanju Samson) did not come when their team was in as dire straits as Pune at 10-3.
Three of Stokes’ six wickets came in a superb outing against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Chinnaswamy Stadium is a graveyard for bowlers, especially fast bowlers, because of its small boundary. Agreed that Bangalore batting is looking like a shadow of what it used to be, but his three for 18 was a killer blow nonetheless.
Winning the Man of the Match award gives us some indication of how a player has had that kind of influence in a battle. And Stokes has now won three in his last four starts. More importantly, it has given Pune the boost it badly required to get out of the early tournament rut and compete for a place in the knock-out stage. They have now won five of their last six matches and are looking like serious contenders for the title.
The momentum is now with Pune and Stokes still has some work to do before he can finally put a seal on what has been a fantastic tournament for him.
He has proven again and again that the events of the nightmarish ICC T20 World Cup final, when he was carted around for four sixes in the final over by Carlos Brathwaite, was just an aberration. If it comes to bowling the 20th over of the IPL final on May 21, don’t be surprised if Stokes puts up his hands again.
The fact that he has handled the expectations of earning big money, his team owners and most importantly, his captain, shows that he truly is a Man of Steel.