Confident KKR take on Kings XI at home (Preview)

Kolkata, May 3 (IANS) On a high after a resounding victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will aim to produce a similar performance when they face Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Wednesday.

KKR presently have 10 points with five wins from eight games, whereas Kings XI are at the bottom of the leader board with just two wins from seven matches.

The Knights had a night to remember on Monday as they pulled of a stunning win against RCB. Chasing 186, the men-in-purple were at one stage struggling at 69/4.

But then Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell got together to bail their side out of trouble. Though Russell got out towards the end, Pathan (60) carried his bat through ensuring KKR got home with five wickets to spare.

The Kings XI are also coming into the contest at the back of a big win against table toppers Gujarat Lions and would ideally want to grab another one here. It was Axar Patel who brought the Gujarat side on their knees with his four wickets in five balls and the Eden Gardens strip might also provide some purchase to the left-arm spinner.

But KKR have a settled bowling unit of their own and putting up or chasing down a score against the home side would not be easy.

The Kings in all probability would not tinker much with their winning combination and would hope their new crowned captain Murali Vijay and Marcus Stoinis can get them off to a flying start with the willow. However, the visitors will be without their in-form batsman Shaun Marsh who has picked up a back injury and will take no further part in the tourney.

The last time these two sides met in Mohali, KKR had come out on top with a six-wicket victory and the Gautam Gambhir led side would ideally want a repeat so that their homecoming tastes sweet.

If so, the sugar once again has to provided by the KKR batsmen who have been in tremendous form this season. Led by Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, the Shahrukh Khan co-owned franchise has had brisk starts upfront. What would boost them is the fact that Pathan has come back to form along with Russell who is well known for hitting the long ball.

Kings XI’s major concern will be their inexperienced bowling line-up but they would like to back it up with the strength in their batting. If the likes of David Miller and Glen Maxwell get going with the bat it will be quite difficult to stop them, but so far their bats have been silent.

The squads:

Kings XI Punjab: David Miller, Murali Vijay (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Kyle Abott, Farhaan Behardien, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, Gurukeerat Maan sinh, Manan Vohra, Sandeep Sharma, Axar Patel, Rishi Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil singh, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, KC Cariappa, Nikhil Naik, Arman Jaffar, Pradeep Shahu.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.

–IANS

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