IPL 2020 Match 46 Preview: KKR vs KXIP - Crucial game for in-form Punjab to keep playoff hopes alive
While Kolkata Knight Riders are front-runners for finishing at the fourth spot after the group stage, Kings XI Punjab are the challengers and will have to beat Kolkata in order to reduce the gap between the 4th and the 5th-placed teams.
LIVE - Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab - Match 46
Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are tied on 14 points from 11 games each. All these three franchises are almost guaranteed to qualify for the playoffs. The only point of interest would be to finish in the top two to avail an extra shot at the final berth.
The road to playoffs
The real competition for the remaining four teams, with Chennai Super Kings having already been eliminated, is for the 4th spot. Kolkata Knight Riders are currently sitting comfortably with 12 points from 11 matches and should go through even if they win two of their remaining three matches.
Kings XI Punjab have to win all the remaining three games to qualify for the playoffs but the game against Kolkata almost holds double significance for them or the worth of four points as that will not only increase their points but take two points off the tally of Kolkata Knight Riders, which will help them on two fronts.
Punjab win fourth consecutive match
Punjab registered their fourth consecutive victory in their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The team could only manage 126 runs from their 20 overs batting first, with Nicholas Pooran (32), Chris Gayle (20) and KL Rahul (27) being their top run scorers.
However, it was the bowlers who brought them back in the match after Hyderabad got off to a good start. Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan choked Hyderabad towards the end to register a brilliant come from behind victory.
KKR batting finally fires
Kolkata Knight Riders registered a comfortable 59-run victory in their last match against Delhi Capitals which also boosted their net run rate.
The move of swapping Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi in the batting order worked wonders for Kolkata as Rana almost batted through the innings, scoring 81 off just 53 balls at a strike rate of 152. Sunil Narine came out to bat at number 5 and blasted 64 off just 32 deliveries.
One more match off for Russell?
Varun Chakravarthy then made good use of the scoreboard pressure to pick up IPL 2020's first 5-wicket haul.
Andre Russell may be given one more match off to get back to full fitness as KKR are expected to go in with the same playing XI.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): KL Rahul(c & wk), Mandeep Singh/Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan(c), Dinesh Karthik(wk), Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
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