Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 25 April 2014 - 09:44pm IST
Preview: Match 15 – KKR v KXIP
Can charged up Knight Riders stop KXIP juggernaut?
Kings XI Punjab, the only undefeated team in Pepsi IPL 2014, take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 15th match of the season.
KXIP have been unstoppable; they’ve steamrolled all their three opponents so far and are comfortably perched at the top of the table with six points and a very healthy net run-rate. Their opponents have been unsuccessful – for most parts – in their attempts to stop Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, while the KXIP bowlers even rolled over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their most recent match.
KKR, on the other hand, will be riding high after their two-run victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Despite posting a modest 150, they were disciplined during RCB’s run-chase, and strangled a formidable RCB line-up that could only score 25 runs in the last four overs.
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8 pm IST
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Every player in the KKR batting line-up – apart from their skipper Gautam Gambhir – has made runs at least in one of their three matches so far this season. There is no denying that Gambhir has received some very good deliveries; but in his pomp, the southpaw would have found an answer to get on top of them. He will be a key character in KKR’s plans – and after the victory in the previous match, one hopes the feel-good factor would help Gambhir break his ill-fated streak of ducks. On the bowling front, Sunil Narine has been – by miles – the best performer for the Men in Purple and Gold. Not only does he pick wickets, he also keeps the runs down.
KXIP have ridden on the performances of two men – Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. The two overseas batsmen have so far contributed 66.6 percent of the runs scored by the team. Need we say more?
Notes from previous match
Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore: KKR were at least 15-20 runs short in their previous match. Yet they bowled and fielded brilliantly to deny RCB the two points they nearly pocketed. Chris Lynn’s catch – which set the social media platforms abuzz - just reiterates the old adage “Catches win Matches”. The area of concern for the team remains the lack of runs from the top order; Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey managed just five runs between them. On the bowling front, there were positives and negatives; they bowled 17 dot balls in the powerplay overs, but gave away nine boundaries in that period.
Kings XI Punjab v Sunrisers Hyderabad: It was the near-perfect match for KXIP. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag saw through the first few overs without being flashy and laid the foundation from which Glenn Maxwell could launch. That was the one area of concern for KXIP in the earlier matches and they will be pleased that problem has been addressed. The one other glitch in the earlier match was dropped catches – two of them – at the end of the SRH run-chase – by Rishi Dhawan and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have a 6-5 win-loss record in matches against Kings XI Punjab. Both teams won their respective home matches when they clashed last season. KXIP eked out their opponents by four runs (after posting 157 while batting first) at Mohali. In the return encounter at Kolkata, KKR restricted KXIP to 149 for six and cruised to a six-wicket win in the 19th over.
Kings XI Punjab have now won their last 6 matches in the IPL making it their longest winning streak.
No player has scored more runs in a series of 3 consecutive innings in the IPL than Glenn Maxwell, who has now scored 279 runs in three innings in Pepsi IPL 2014.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ will remain in Abu Dhabi to take on the Rajasthan Royals on April 29, while Kings XI Punjab’s next fixture is against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on April 28.