x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Kolkata 'have the X-factor'

After finally discovering some form, the Kolkata Knight Riders are looking to upstage the Delhi Daredevils tonight and follow the path of the Rajasthan Royals up the IPL table.

After finally discovering some form, the Kolkata Knight Riders are looking to upstage the Delhi Daredevils tonight and follow the path of the Rajasthan Royals up the IPL table. The Royals, led by Shane Warne, had lost their first three games, but bounced back with victories in the next four, raising Kolkata's hopes of a similar turnaround. The Knight Riders made an impressive start to their campaign with wins over the two finalists from last year - the defending champions, Deccan Chargers and the Royal Challengers Bangalore - before slipping in their next three games.

They ended that losing-streak with a 39-run win over Kings XI Punjab on Saturday and Dav Whatmore, the coach, warned his side had rediscovered their intensity. "The urgency and intensity was lacking in the last few matches and it is back," said the Australian. "When one loses a few matches, it's easy to be emotional, but we need to focus on the attributes. We need to bring about little changes from game to game."

Sourav Ganguly, the Knight Riders captain, was in a similarly optimistic mood and said: "As I said after losing to Mumbai, we have finally got the X-factor going our way. "I was never too worried about the three defeats. Anyone can come back in this format. Rajasthan have shown it by winning three in a row. The main thing is to continue playing freely, and hopefully, keep winning." The Daredevils were also on a three-match losing run before ending it with a 17-run win over the Royal Challengers on Thursday night and Gautam Gambhir, who missed those games with a hamstring injury, is looking to build on that. "It's nice to get back the winning momentum," said the Delhi captain.

@Email:arizvi@thenational.ae Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, 6.30pm, CricOne