The Kolkata Knight Riders have been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament this year. They have 14 points to their name and are just a win away from qualifying for the playoffs.
Having said that, it is worth noting that they have been there for quite some time now. It must be quite frustrating for them to stand there and not getting the all-important win to seize the deal for the playoffs.
The KKR camp will be fancying their chances of making it big in the scene when they head back to their fortress, the Eden Gardens, for their upcoming fixture. They will take on the Rising Pune Supergiant in the key encounter that promises to be a close contest. RPS have found some sublime form in the recent few games and would take a lot of confidence going into the game. They have 12 points to their name and need two more wins to qualify for the play-offs.
The bowling had been their weak link in the early part of the season. Now, they see all their players, including the bowling lineup, peaking at the right time. The last time these two sides locked horns at Pune in the season, it was the Gautam Gambhir-led side that had upset the Supergiant.
Gambhir has led from the front and has been a steady accumulator of runs at the top, while a leaner-yet-stronger Uthappa is applying himself better and milking opponents for runs. The KKR management must be glad that both batsmen are converting their starts into fairly big scores; off the nine 50-plus scores between them, five are of 70 or more a�� which is a fairly big score in the context of T20 cricket.
Manish Pandey and Yusuf also have a couple of decent knocks to their name in the season already. Sheldon Jackson is perhaps the only player not to have been amongst the runs thus far. To be fair to the Saurashtra lad, he has not got too many opportunities either. He will most likely continue to be preferred over Suryakumar Yadav, who has been consistently playing poorlya�� throughout the season.
The Rising Pune Supergiant have no reason to tinker with their winning combinations. Moreover, skipper Steve Smith is renowned for sticking to the same playing eleven. Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi have been doing a decent job in the top order albeit the senior of the two has been inconsistent thus far.
In the recent games, their bowlers have also stepped up to the occasion which proves to be a handy deal for the Supergiant. Imran Tahir has been getting the ideal support from Washington Sundar in the spin department. Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat have been the wicket takers for them with the new ball and in the death as well. The addition of Dan Christian is only benefitting them an inch more.
Head to Head :
Matches – 3
KKR – 3, RPS – 0
Probable Lineups :
Kolkata Knight RidersA�-A�Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Sheldon Jackson, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Woakes, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav.
Rising Pune SupergiantA�-A�Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (C), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk), Ben Stokes, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir.