Kings reckon Knights will be tough to beat at home

Kolkata, April 25 (IANS) While they managed to sneak in a four run victory in their last encounter, Kings XI Punjab are aware that beating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at home will be a tough proposition.

“We managed to get across the line against KKR the last time at home. But obviously they are a very good side and tough to beat at home. It’s them who have got the home advantage. It’s a tough road trip for us,” Punjab coach Darren Lehmann said here Thursday on the eve of their IPL game Friday.

The Punjab franchise, fifth in the points table with four wins, take on a struggling KKR at the Eden Gardens. The home team with just two wins from seven matches is placed seventh.

With an out of form Mumbai Indian skipper Ricky Ponting opting out in Wednesday’s match against KKR for the “sake of his team”, Lehmann was asked whether King’s captain Adam Gilchrist would walk the same path following a prolonged form slump.

“I don’t know about him, you’ll have to ask him. He is captain and has led really well and kept very well. Obviously we want some more runs from him. It’s been well-documented. Even he would like to hit more runs. We will have to wait and see,” said Lehmann.

Gilchrist has managed just 67 runs from seven innings at an embarrassing average of 9.57 runs in the ongoing edition of IPL.

The Kings have already suffered a blow with exciting batsman Shaun Marsh unfit to play in Friday’s match.

The coach was also all praise for batter Mandeep Singh who has been in good form and scored a crucial unbeaten 77 to help his side beat Pune Warriors India in a high scoring game.

“Mandeep is a very good player. The big challenge for him is to be more consistent and make runs every time he plays. He has been very good for us in the last few games. If he keeps doing that, he has a great future,” said the Australian.

Lehmann said the fate of the match against Kolkata depended upon the ability of the bowlers to adapt to the situations.

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