IPL 2018: Match 44, KXIP vs KKR, Preview – Shattered Knight Riders seek inspiration as the race for playoffs intensifies
Kings XI will look to solidify their position in the top half of the points table.
Updated - May 12, 2018 3:37 pm
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are set to lock horns in the 44th match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday. Both the teams are coming off heartbreaking losses in their respective previous encounters and only a win will help their cause. More than anyone, the visitors desperately need a victory else their season will suddenly come to an end courtesy their poor net run-rate. However, it won’t be easy for them to trump Punjab who would be eyeing to get one step closer to their playoff qualification.
The hosts failed to gun down the target of 158 runs in the last game despite KL Rahul’s heroics as none of the batsmen tried to play second fiddle to him. Also, their few tactical decisions were questionable and the team now needs to concentrate on winning rather than experimenting. They still need at least a couple of victories under their belt to feel comfortable and are facing a dangerous opposition. KKR would be hurting after the thumping they received at the hands of Mumbai and they will be eager to gain the winning momentum.
Dinesh Karthik will have to somehow regroup his troops and inspire to put up an excellent show at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. Surely, they can’t afford yet another loss and have to win their remaining three games. The bowling attack has been lacklustre under pressure and they literally had no answers to the onslaught from Ishan Kishan in their last game. Even the batsmen have to apply themselves in difficult circumstances rather than going for big shots unnecessarily.
The duo of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle had pummeled the bowlers at the Eden Gardens when these two teams met three weeks ago. Both of them will be confident of repeating their heroics but even KKR must have noticed by now that Punjab doesn’t have a solid middle-order and if they remove openers early the job will be almost done for them.
Toss: KXIP won the toss and elected to bowl first
Kolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Andre Russell, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav
Kings XI Punjab (Playing XI): Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul(w), Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Karun Nair, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Kings XI Punjab
The hosts bowled well at the death in the last game but their batting has been faltering more often than not. Akshdeep Nath couldn’t do much and will be replaced by Manzoor Dar who is surprisingly yet to play so far. The rest of the line-up should be same as the onus will be once again on Rahul and Gayle to get them off to a flyer. The bowlers have been doing their job to the perfection and are expected to continue in the same vein.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR might trust on the similar line-up once again and back them to come good. There is a possibility though of Mitchell Johnson coming back in place of Tom Curran who wasn’t good against Mumbai. Their batting has to click at any cost in this game and it is possible that they might be chasing a big total again if the explosive batsmen in the opposition tee off. The bowlers will be under pressure to bowl well this time around and step up to the task.
Focus will be on
Karun Nair (Kings XI Punjab)
Karun Nair is the only batsman who has managed to score some runs apart from Rahul and Gayle. But even hasn’t been consistent enough in his 9 innings so far. It is very important for the fortunes of his team that the Karnataka boy stands up and take the responsibility in case the openers fail. He has scored 243 runs so far with only a solitary half-century and the time has come for him to convert his starts into big scores. Though he has looked sublime during his brief cameos the team would expect a rather formidable show from him.
Dinesh Karthik (Kolkata Knight Riders)
It is very important for a captain to keep his heads up in order to instil the belief in the team after the way they lost their previous game. Karthik’s batting has risen to the occasion most of the times but what has come under the scanner is his captaincy. His many decisions have left the experts wondering and might have changed the course of the matches on multiple occasions this season. It is extremely crucial that he thinks twice before deciding anything as the matches will go down the wire now and even a single mistake can end a season for the Men in Purple and Gold.
Head to Head
Played- 22, Kings XI Punjab – 8, Kolkata Knight Riders – 14
25 – Sunil Narine has picked 25 wickets against Kings XI Punjab which are the most by any bowler.
TV– Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Jalsha (Bengali), Star Maa Movies (Telegu), Star Sports Tamil
Live Streaming– Hotstar & YuppTv
Match Timings: 16:00 IST, 10:30 GMT