Struggling Kolkata's campaign at stake as Punjab look to get back to winning ways

Chris Gayle looking to fire it up again for Kings XI Punjab
 

After a horror show in their last game, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have put their campaign at stake, needing three wins from as many games to guarantee them a playoffs spot. Even though two from three could do the trick, a 102-run defeat in the last game has hit their net run rate pretty badly!

Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders

Date - May 12, 2018

Time - 16:00 hours IST

Venue - Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

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While the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) only need to win two out of their four games to qualify, their recent form has been less than promising, especially with the bat. Their over-dependence on Chris Gayle and KL Rahul was visible once again against the Rajasthan Royals. While Rahul scored an unbeaten 95, the rest of the batsmen could only muster 41 runs amongst themselves as they failed to chase down a target of 159.

 The decision to give Akshdeep Nath and Manoj Tiwary chances instead of the failing duo of Yuvraj Singh and Mayank Agarwal is yet to pay dividends. While Nath only played his first game of the season, Tiwary will certainly be feeling the pressure of delivering for his team.

KKR had their worst game of the season as they surrendered meekly against the Mumbai Indians in their last game and it even prompted their owner, Shah Rukh Khan, to apologize to their fans. While there is no harm in losing to a better team, the manner in which they collapsed was not something that is expected from a two-time champion team.

There were quite a few questions asked yet again about Dinesh Karthik’s decision making and the biggest one was the decision to bowl Andre Russell for only two overs. While Russell did not look at his best on the filed in that game, the fact that he played shows the lack of options on their bench. Tom Curran did come in for Mitchell Johnson but he too went for runs like Johnson has throughout the tournament.

There was not much to talk about their batting as Robin Uthappa continued to show why he could not make it big in international cricket. A couple of glorious sixes was all that he managed before getting out to a poor shot.

A loss for KKR would literally end their chances in the tournament, although it does make life easier for KXIP. Both teams have plenty of batting issues to ponder about. Another failure for Gayle and Rahul is what KKR would be hoping for as they look to battle it out for the playoffs spot.

Probable XI’s

Expect an unchanged eleven from KXIP.

Kings XI Punjab – KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohit Sharma

Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi might come in for Rinku Singh and Prasidh Krishna

Kolkata Knight Riders – Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav

Trivia

  • Lokesh Rahul has scored the fastest and joint-slowest 50s of this season – a 14-ball one against Delhi in their first game, followed up by the 48-ball one against Rajasthan in their previous game
  • Robin Uthappa has failed to average more than 30 with the bat in his last three IPL seasons. This season has been the poorest of the last three as he averages 24.81 with the bat as compared to 29.84 and 26.26 in 2017 and 2016 respectively
  • Piyush Chawla’s economy rate of 8.71 is his second highest in his eleven seasons of the IPL. His worst was in 2017 when he went at 8.95 runs per over

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