Kolkata Knight Riders take on Pune Warriors in the first of two Indian Premier League (IPL) games scheduled for Wednesday.
The Knight Riders are IPL 2013's defending champions but they are set to be eliminated in the group stages, unless they win their two remaining games and enjoy the fortune of a very specific set of results in other games.
Meanwhile, Pune Warriors' fate was decided quite some back; the team from western India will spend yet another season at the bottom of the table, with only two wins from 14 games, so far, this season.
The reverse fixture finished a comfortable 46-run win for the Knight Riders, with Gautam Gambhir scoring 50 off 44 balls and Lakshmipathy Balaji, Iqbal Abdulla, Jacques Kallis and Sunil Narine picking up 9/84 with the ball.
Where to Watch Live
Play starts at 11.30pm BST. Live coverage is on ITV 4 and ITV 4 HD. Follow the match live, via text updates, on ESPN Cricinfo.
Kolkata come into this game after a massively important five wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last game. A defeat in that game would have ensured Kolkata's elimination while boosting Bangalore's chances of qualification to the knock-out rounds.
The Knight Riders produced an inspired bowling performance against a formidable Bangalore batting line-up, restricting the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli to 115/9. Gayle managed only a subdued 33 from 36 balls and de Villiers 28 from 22. Captain Kohli was castled by Kallis for a 14-ball 17.
West Indian spinner Narine enhanced his already considerable IPL reputation with a flawless 4/22 from four overs and Sachithra Senanayake, Balaji and Kallis picked up 5/57 between them. And despite a shocking start with the bat - Manvinder Bisla was dismissed off the second ball of the innings - a measured 41 from 45 balls by Kallis gave Kolkata the win.
Gambhir now needs to beat Pune and as many as three games pan out in his favour - he needs 2008 champions Rajasthan Royals to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Daredevils to beat Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings to beat Bangalore. And that is just the first round of games. The champions also need to beat Sunrisers, in Hyderabad, in their final game and hope Punjab lose again, to Mumbai Indians.
Meanwhile, Pune have nowhere to go... not even up. The Warriors must win their two remaining games - against Kolkata and Delhi - to move off the bottom of the table. And given they've won only twice in 14 games so far, this seems unlikely.
They come into this game after being rather contemptuously dismissed by Mumbai in their last match. Batting first, and with big hitters like Robin Uthappa, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh and Angelo Mathews, they could manage only 112/8.
Mitchell Johnson, Abu Nechim and Lasith Malinga picked up two wickets apiece and despite a poor start - openers Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar fell with the score at 25 and Dinesh Karthik went shortly after - captain Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu combined for a 54-run fourth wicket stand that won them the match.
Kolkata Knight Riders
- Last Five (most recent first): W W L W L
- Last Match: Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets
- Last Five (most recent first): L L L L L
- Last Match: Pune Warriors lost to Mumbai Indians by five wickets