PBKS vs KKR IPL 2021 Preview: Now or never for Kolkata against buoyant Punjab
The IPL caravan moves to the quick and bouncy pitches of Ahmedabad for the first time this year.
Crunch time for KKR
While Punjab Kings are coming off a victory against Mumbai Indians, no less, Kolkata Knight Riders lost their last match against Rajasthan Royals.
Kolkata find themselves at the bottom of the IPL 2021 points table with just one victory from five matches.
KKR batting tapering off
When the season began, it seemed as if KKR had got rid of their batting troubles from the last season. Their top order fired in the first match and with all three of Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi looking in good touch, it augured well for the team.
However, as the tournament has moved forward, their batting returns have tapered off. Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell have played a couple of good knocks each but haven't been able to provide the team with the much-needed consistency.
Onus on Chakravarthy, Narine and Cummins
KKR began with Shakib Al Hasan as their fourth overseas player apart from captain Morgan himself, Andre Russell and Pat Cummins, but decided to bring in Sunil Narine after the first couple of games, which was a sensible move.
Kolkata's bowling has been doing all right with Varun Chakravarthy leading the way. Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna have also done a decent job. But, KKR have not yet been able to finalise their fifth bowling option.
Mavi's chance to make a difference
They went in with veteran off spinner Harbhajan Singh for the first couple of matches and then brought in Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who went for plenty. KKR tried Shivam Mavi in the last match who bowled exceptionally well, giving away just 19 form is 4 overs while picking up one wicket.
If KKR do not register a victory in this match, they will find it very difficult to turn their campaign around.
Ravi Bishnoi begins with a bang
Punjab Kings, too, did not get off to a great start in IPL 2021 but would have got a lot of confidence after beating defending champions Mumbai Indians by a comprehensive margin of 9 wickets in their last match.
Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi were their leading bowlers as they picked up 2 wickets each while bowling at an economy rate of 5.20. Bishnoi came in ahead of Murugan Ashwin and showed why he should have always started for the team.
Punjab look balanced
Punjab Kings' top 3 in KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle are firing. Shahrukh Khan provides them with a bankable and explosive option in the role of the finisher.
With quality all-rounders in Moises Henriques and Fabian Allen, Punjab look quite balanced. Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh are their leading pacers.
Check out our match predictions below and the latest cricket betting odds available online.
Who will win Toss? KKR
Who will win? KKR
Top Runs Scored? Eoin Morgan (KKR), KL Rahul (PBKS)
Top Wicket Taker? Varun Chakravarthy (KKR), Ravi Bishnoi (PBKS)
Most Sixes? Eoin Morgan (KKR), Chris Gayle (PBKS)
Here are the predicted playing XIs:
Kolkata Knight Riders - Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Punjab Kings - KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Fabian Allen, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
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