KKR v KXIP preview: A shootout for the playoffs
With four consecutive wins, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are in stellar form and the KL Rahul-led team will aim to keep the streak rolling when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 46th fixture of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday.
The last time the two sides met, KKR defeated KXIP by two runs. However, a lot has changed since then. While team has been inconsistent under the leadership Eoin Morgan, Punjab have managed to win matches regardless of how far behind they are.
Kolkata staged a striking comeback, following up an eight-wicket thrashing by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with a 59-run win over the rock-solid Delhi Capitals (DC).
Their top-order featuring Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana are in form. Sunil Narine, who missed few games recently, was quite impressive in the last game playing a knock of 64 runs. Pacer Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna and Kamlesh Nagarkoti were pretty decent against DC but it was spinner Varun Chakravarthy (5/20), who took the limelight with an excellent performance with the ball.
On the other hand, KXIP will be, certainly, riding high on confidence after their thin but confidence boosting victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Despite putting a paltry 126/7 on board, Punjab managed a win, courtesy to their bowlers.
Talking about the batting, the KXIP top-order, comprising Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, has been achieving on a regular basis and the coming back of Chris Gayle has further reinforced their batting. But today, if Mayank Agarwal is able to make a quick recovery, he should straight pick in the place of Mandeep Singh. While, Nicholas Pooran has been in decent form but Glenn Maxwell's inconsistency will again be a talking point. James Neesham may play the game in place of Maxwell today.
The bowling revolves primarily around experienced Mohammad Shami and youngster Ravi Bishnoi. However, Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan came into the party against SRH, turning the screws fabulously in the final two overs to lead them to win.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (c), Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi/Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy.
KXIP: KL Rahul (c, wk), Mayank Agarwal/Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell/James Neesham, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.