Indore: Both KXIP and KKR have played 10 matches so far into the current IPL season but they are still at crossroads. Both teams locked up in the mid-table battle for a playoff berth will come up against each other in the match 44 at Indore today.
When these two teams met in Kolkata earlier this season, KXIP walked away with the two points after they got the better of the Knight Riders in a rain-affected encounter.
Kings XI Punjab are set to play back-to-back league matches at their adopted home, their last two home games before they travel to Mumbai and Chennai in what is a hectic schedule.
KXIP batting has the tendency of being overreliant on their openers- Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul. The middle order continues to look wobbly and this one area which oppositions teams will look to target. Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch and Mayank Agarwal are yet to make their presence felt in the tournament.
Kings XI Punjab have two of the top three wicket-takers in this IPL, Andrew Tye has been outstanding, particularly at the back end, while Mujeeb ur Rahman has been extremely miserly whenever given the ball.
KKR have concerns relating to their bowling attack which they need to address immediately. In their last five matches, they have conceded more than 200 twice and more than 180 on one other occasion. The lack of quality alternatives in the squad and Andre Russell’s fitness issues are also hampering captain Karthik’s options.
Sunil Narine has scored 145 runs at a strike-rate of 166.67. In their 5 defeats, the Trinidadian has only managed a total of 57 runs. Among others, Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik are KKR’s in-form batsmen; with the stakes high, they need the experienced duo to post big scores.
Spinners were supposed to be KKR’s trump card but chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla have also been on the expensive side adding to the worry. Sunil Narine, with 13 wickets in 11 matches, is KKR’s most successful bowler.
Team Head to Head
Overall: Matches – 22, Kings XI Punjab won – 8, Kolkata Knight Riders won – 14
KXIP: Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), Yuvraj Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mayank Dagar, Aaron Finch, Chris Gayle, Manzoor Dar, David Miller, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, Axar Patel, Lokesh Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, Manoj Tiwary, Andrew Tye, Ben Dwarshuis, Ankit Rajpoot, Pardeep Sahu, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Akshdeep Nath.
KKR: Dinesh Karthik (c), Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi and Tom Curran.
The match starts at 4 PM IST.