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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 25 April 2013 - 08:52pm IST

Preview : Match 35 – KKR vs KXIP

KXIP high on confidence; KKR seek resurrection

What

The Kolkata Knight Riders take on Kings XI Punjab in Match 35 of Pepsi IPL 2013.

KKR - the defending champions – currently lie seventh in the standings having won just two of their seven fixtures. After winning their season opener convincingly, KKR have only managed to win one more off their next six matches and have been at the receiving end in each of their last three matches. In their previous match against the Mumbai Indians, they posted 159 on the board and took the match to the last over before Rajat Bhatia’s full-tosses were put away to the boundary.

KXIP meanwhile sit mid-table with four wins and three losses. They come into this contest at the back of wins against Pune Warriors India and Delhi Daredevils. Their journey so far has been on the strength of contributions from the younger batsmen in the team and their bowling attack which has been outstanding. The bowling attack though faces a stiff challenge in this contest given they are likely to encounter a slow surface and not the juicy tracks that their pacers have thrived on.

When

Friday, April 26, 2013, 8 p.m

Where

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

The Protagonists

The presence of Gautam Gambhir at the top of the line-up is certainly reassuring for KKR fans. However the lack of runs from the other batsmen has meant the pressure on the skipper has intensified. Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan have played cameos so far but KKR need much more than that from them. Question marks remain over the participation of Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary owing to injuries; while it will be a blow to the team if either of them miss this game, it could also turn out to be a blessing in disguise given, it could make room for the destructive Brendon McCullum at the top.

KXIP’s wins in the last two matches have been on the back of runs from David Miller and Mandeep Singh. While they will be expected to carry their form, there will also be expectations from skipper Adam Gilchrist to chip in with runs. The Australian has only managed 67 runs in seven innings and those numbers do not do justice to a player of his stature and experience.

On the bowling front, one doesn’t have to look beyond the mystery spinner Sunil Narine. The Trinidadian has been outstanding so far in the competition even picking up the Purple Cap for becoming the leading wicket-taker at this stage in the tournament.

Previous Meetings

The head-to-head record between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab stands at five matches a piece.

In the most recent meeting between the two teams at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, it was the hosts who defended 157 to emerge victors by a slender margin of 4 runs.

Trivia

Though Sunil Narine has only played 22 matches for KKR he is their leading wicket-taker in the IPL with 38 wickets. Jacques Kallis is second on the list with 29 wickets.

Piyush Chawla is Kings XI Punjab’s most-capped player; he has played in 78 of their 80 matches.

What Next

After three consecutive home fixtures, KKR will hit the road for back-to-back away games. Their first stop will be at Chennai where they take on the Chennai Super Kings on April 28. Kings XI Punjab meanwhile head to Mumbai on April 29 to take on the Mumbai Indians.

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