Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders square off against Kings XI Punjab in Match 20 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
The Knight Riders will be high on confidence after their resounding 48-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. It was as clinical a performance as one can get; the top four batsmen were all among the runs while the bowlers made good use of helpful conditions to strangle the opposition batsmen.
Kings XI Punjab meanwhile have a few things to worry about. After starting the tournament with an eight wicket victory over Pune Warriors India, the team has suffered two defeats after batting failures. In a tournament where most teams seem to be making optimum use of playing at home, Kings XI Punjab will be keen to protect their base too.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 4 p.m
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
Kings XI Punjab will need a big contribution at the top from their skipper Adam Gilchrist. The Australian looked to be in good rhythm in the first game of the season but has since only managed nine runs in two innings. In a team that doesn’t have too many experienced players – David Hussey is the only other experienced international T20 cricketer in the line-up – Gilchrist needs to fire at the top of the innings. On the bowling front, Praveen Kumar was outstanding in the previous match against the Rajasthan Royals; Kings XI Punjab will hope he can carry that form into this home game where the conditions are likely to favour the seam bowlers.
Though the Knight riders have several international players in the line-up, the one player who has had the most influence on their fortunes is skipper Gautam Gambhir. A very intense character on the field, Gambhir believes in leading by example and he will be aware that his performances have a significant bearing on his team’s fortunes. KKR will also consider including Brett Lee for this match, given the likelihood of a seamer-friendly track at Mohali. The damage he can cause and how many runs KXIP can score off those four overs too will have a bearing on the result.
The Kolkata Knight Riders, who have won five of their nine matches against Kings XI Punjab, have a slight edge going into this contest.
Last season, both teams won their respective away matches. While Kings XI Punjab held their nerves to beat the hosts at Kolkata, the Knight Riders came back strongly to defeat Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets at Mohali.
Off the 10 times Gautam Gambhir has scored 50 or more for KKR, his team has gone on to win on eight occasions.
Teams chasing have done better at the PCA Stadium; off the last 10 IPL matches played at the venue, 7 have been won by teams chasing.
Kings XI Punjab will be seen in action next in three days time when they visit the Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 19. The Knight Riders meanwhile will head back home to host the Chennai Super Kings on April 20.