KKR look to strengthen their case for a playoffs berth
Kolkata Knight Riders will look to consolidate their position when they take on the confident looking Kings XI Punjab at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
In their previous fixture against Delhi Capitals, the move to promote Nitish Rana worked efficiently. The southpaw's 81 off 55 set the ton, pioneering KKR to a formidable 194 on the board. Sunil Narine, who made a return to the playing XI, was at his destructive best with the willow. Rana gave him a great company as KKR amassed 119 runs off the last ten overs. On the bowling front, Varun Chakravarthy tightened the screws in the middle overs and delivered a telling spell. He became the 19th bowler to register a five wicket-haul in the IPL. Varun, with 12 wickets, has been a revelation this season. KKR, however, have plenty of areas to be addressed. It has been one of those seasons where Dinesh Karthik hasn't quite got going with the bat. While the teams are fast approaching the business end of the tournament, KKR will want the DK-Morgan liaison to get their mojo back.
Having started the campaign on a dreadful note, KXIP have fought back extremely well, securing four consecutive victories. When it comes to the batting arena, one individual who seems to be high on energy is the skipper KL Rahul.
The 29-year-old batsman has been scintillating with the bat. Chris Gayle's arrival has also infused muscle into the side. The middle-order, though, has always been a problem. Their batsmen have got the starts but have failed to convert into significant scores. Glen Maxwell has looked all at the sea against the spinners. A lot of onus will lie on the shoulders of Nicholas Pooran to do the bulk of scoring in the middle overs. Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin were not the ones to bow out without a fight in their previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The spinners led the charge making life difficult for the batsmen. Ably supported by the likes of Chris Jordan and Arshdeep Singh, the Kings delivered a come from behind performance to edge past SRH in a low scoring encounter.
All in all, one can expect a cracker of a contest with both the teams looking to strengthen their case for a playoffs berth.
Date: Monday, 26 October
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Time: 7:30 PM (IST)
Kolkata Knight Riders - LLWLW
Kings XI Punjab - LWWWW
(Previous five fixtures)
Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Tom Banton, Siddhesh Lad, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrior, Shivam Mavi, Rinku Singh, Chris Green, M Siddharth and Nikhil Naik.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Simran Singh.