Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) host Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at their adopted home ground in Indore for match 44 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.
The last time these two teams met this season, KXIP won by 9 wickets in a rain affected game and KKR will be looking to avenge that unlucky defeat.
KXIP come into this game on the back of a disappointing defeat against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Jaipur. Opting to bat first the Royals got off to a great start courtesy Jos Buttler’s 82 off 58 balls.
Punjab’s bowlers responded well, especially Andrew Tye who picked up four wickets, but RR still managed to reach 158. The KXIP run chase got off to a terrible start losing both Gayle and Ashwin off consecutive deliveries. KL Rahul was the only batsman who put up a fight with an unbeaten 95 off 70 balls, but the knock proved futile as RR came away with a 15-run victory.
KKR’s last game was an embarrassing 102-run defeat to a resurgent Mumbai Indians (MI) side. Mumbai riding on Ishan Kishan’s blistering 62 off just 21 balls and Ben Cutting’s 21 off 9 deliveries reached a mammoth total of 210 in their 20 overs.
Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa who scored 21 runs each were the highest scorers for KKR as their entire batting unit collapsed under the pressure of chasing a high total. They were bowled out in the nineteenth over having managed to score just 108 runs.
A win for Kolkata this evening could see them reclaim fourth spot whereas Punjab who are placed third will be looking to consolidate their position as the race for the playoffs heats up.
Timing – 4 pm
Venue – Holkar Stadium, Indore.
Where to watch – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD and Hotstar
Head to head: After having faced each other 22 times in the past, Kolkata have a slight edge over Punjab having emerged winners on 14 occasions as compared to Punjab’s eight wins over them.
Akshdeep Nath who was handed a debut in the previous game, failed to impress. He is most likely to be replaced by either Mayank Agarwal or Yuvraj Singh. Ankit Rajpoot too might be slotted back into the side in place of Mohit Sharma.
If both Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi recover from their injuries then they would most likely replace Rinku Singh and Prasidh Krishna respectively in the playing 11.
Prediction: who will win?
Punjab who have been a very different unit this season under Ashwin’s captaincy will be the favorites to win this tie. Kolkata have not been able to get firing on all cylinders and have struggled with the inconsistency of their players this season.
Betting odds: According to Oddscheker.com the odds are placed at 1/1 for KXIP and 10/11 for KKR.
Holkar Stadium Pitch Report: The Holkar stadium is known for the batting friendly pitches on offer. The pacers do manage to find some bounce, but there isn’t much in the pitch for the spinners. With short boundaries and a quick outfield, we should be in for a high scoring encounter.
MC Dream XI: KL Rahul (wk), C Gayle, R Uthappa, D Karthik, N Rana, S Narine, R Ashwin, M Rahman, A Tye, K Yadav and P Chawla.
Players to watch out for:
KL Rahul (KXIP) – The Punjab opener has been a revelation this season, showcasing great class to adapt to the quick scoring nature of the IPL. He started the season with blistering knocks, even scoring the fastest-fifty in the IPL (51 off 14 balls). Off late, he has shown his ability to pace out his innings remaining unbeaten at 84 and 95 in his last two innings.
Sunil Narine (KKR) – The West Indian bowler has picked up 13 wickets already this season, making him KKR’s most successful bowler. He has often been the go to man for skipper Karthik whenever it comes to breaking crucial partnerships. KKR also depend heavily on his power hitting at the top of the batting order which helps set the momentum early for the team.
IPL points table: With 12 points after six wins from their 10 games, KXIP are currently placed third on the points table. KKR are fifth with 10 points from 11 games. Check out the updated points table here.