Kolkata Knight Riders will be eyeing a win against Kings XI Punjab to achieve a top-two finish in the league.
With 16 points from 12 matches, KKR are as good as in the knockout stage; but their ambition to be among the top two still needs work. KXIP, on the other hand, must beA�devastated after losing to Gujarat Lions. They now need something akin to a miracle to make it through.
KKR bounced back from their back-to-back defeats when they registered an easy six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru.
Chasing a modest 159 for victory yesterday, KKR made it easy; racing to 105 for no loss in just six overs, for a record IPL powerplay total. They achieved the target with 29 balls to spare on the back of Sunil Narine’s (54 off 17 balls) record joint fastest IPL fifty from 15 balls. Chris Lynn (50 off 22 balls) also had a explosive return to action after his shoulder injury.
In their most-recent match, KXIP, despite posting 189 batting first, lost to the Gujarat Lions; Glenn Maxwella��s boys were sloppy on the field and showed lack of match-awareness. KXIP will have to fill a huge void in their XI; with Hashim Amla parting ways with the team to join up with the South African national team. Amla is KXIPa��s leading run-getter a�� and his absence could mean the team could revert to using Manan Vohra as opener.
The home team could be forced into a host of changes as they see Hashim Amla and David Miller leave. Marcus Stoinis and Eoin Morgan are not with the team either. This could see a return for Darren Sammy, who will not only be a valuable hitter and finisher lower down; but also a safe catcher and someone who can bowl four overs if needed. Martin Guptill has failed to set the tournament alight; but the loss of Amla should see the New Zealand opener keep his place.
Robin Uthappa looks set to return from injury, and if fit; he will walk into the line-up in place of Sheldon Jackson. That apart, KKR will have no reason to change their XI. Their batting order though, might need a reschuffle.
Kings XI Punjab
Martin Guptill, Manan Vohra, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell(c), Gurukeerat Singh Mann; Wridhhiman Saha(wk), Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron/Darren Sammy; T Natarajan/Matt Henry, Sandeep Sharma.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir(c), Chris Lynn, Manish Pandey; Sheldon Jackson (wk), Yusuf Pathan, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme; Ankit Rajpoot, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav.