Kolkata Knight Riders face Kings XI Punjab in an absolute necessity win experience at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Friday. Mumbai Indians’ exciting Super Over triumph against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday may have given both the sides some breathing space yet they would need to win Friday’s match frantically to build their chances of making the playoffs.
Both KKR and Kings XI have 10 points from 12 matches yet the Kolkata outfit is put a rung above Punjab at 6th in the eight-team competition by goodness of a superior net run-rate.
Both KKR and Kings XI had a better than average excursion in the first half of the competition before losing the plot in the all-important second phase.
In the wake of enrolling four wins and one loss in the initial five games, KKR endured six annihilations in succession that crashed their campaign.
Despite the fact that KKR come back to winning ways against Mumbai Indians in their last game, the Dinesh Karthik-led side need to enroll triumphs in their last two games to have an outside possibility of qualifying for the Play-offs.
The KKR top-order – Shubman Gill (75), Chris Lynn (54) and Andre Russell (80 not out) terminated as one in their last match against Mumbai Indians to lift the side to a mammoth 232 for two, a total which the bowling unit defended to register a much-needed 34-run win.
Russell has been in ominous form for KKR this season and is the third most elevated scorer so far with 486 runs from 12 games at a stunning strike rate of 207.69.
Yet,if batting is their strength, KKR’s weak link is the bowling department. Veteran campaigners like Sunil Narine (2/4) and Piyush Chawla (1/57) leaked runs against MI in their last match and if not for the cushion of 230 plus score, KKR could have lost the match.
Russell however was splendid with the ball as well, enlisting figures of noteworthy figures of 2 for 25.
Remembering that the track in Mohali has helped the Ashwin couple of KXIP, KKR may be enticed to give Kuldeep Yadav his spot back in the playing XI. KKR confronted a great deal of analysis for dropping Kuldeep in the last two matches against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians before the up and coming World Cup.
But KKR head coach Jaques Kallis stated it won’t have any bearing on Kuldeep’s World Cup performance.
“I don’t think it will affect him, it’s just a different format and unfortunately looking at the makeup of the side, he has not played the last couple of games. He has been working quite hard in the nets and seems to be getting it right again, so I am sure he will be okay for the World Cup,” Kallis said ahead of the KKR vs KXIP match.
KKR Predicted XI vs KXIP: 1 Chris Lynn, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Andre Russell, 4 Robin Uthappa, 5 Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), 6 Nitish Rana, 7 Sunil Narine, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Harry Gurney, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Prasidh Krishna