The winner of the match between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders will take a step closer to the VIVO IPL 2019 Playoffs. Both teams have five wins from 12 matches; hosts KXIP are seventh in the eight-team table with a net run rate of -0.296, while their opponents KKR are one place above with a net run rate of 0.100.
It’s been a season of two distinct halves for both teams. Kings XI Punjab won four of their first six matches, but have managed only one win in their next six matches. The Knight Riders were table-toppers after winning four of their first five matches. But they then hit a slippery patch, lost six matches on the bounce, and fell out of the top half of the table. KKR put the brakes on their losing streak in their previous match when they defeated the Mumbai Indians.
KXIP have lost their last three matches, but they will be delighted to return to their home ground where they have a 4-1 win-loss record this season. KKR meanwhile haven’t travelled well this season – they’ve won only two of their five matches on the road – and therefore face a huge challenge to stay alive in the competition.
Given how the table has taken shape, both teams will be aware that the fourth qualifier could be well be decided on the basis of net run rate. Hence, both teams will be eyeing a win first, and a big one at that so as to boost their NRR.
3 May 2019, 8pm IST
IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
Previous Match XIs:
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, David Miller, Ravichandran Ashwin, Prabhsimran Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Robbie Uthappa, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney, Sandeep Warrier.
Kings XI Punjab play with only five specialist batsmen; therefore it is up those five – Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran and David Miller – to do the bulk of the run-scoring. Rahul has come in for criticism for taking his time and not batting aggressively early; it could well be the team management’s plan that one of the top-order batsmen bats deep into the innings. Gayle has often set the tone at the top, while Mayank Agarwal – who has had his best IPL season ever – has ensured the momentum has been carried forward with impressive cameos.
KKR have finally taken the long overdue decision to promote Shubman Gill to the top of the line-up; the teenager is a quality batsman and was a resource being wasted down the order. Batting at the top gives him the opportunity to set his own pace, and bat long as well. Andre Russell has destroyed many a bowling attacks this season; the Jamaican has a strike-rate of 207.69, and has already hit 50 sixes – one every 4.7 deliveries on an average. It must please the Knight Riders management that Russell applied himself well when he was sent out to bat at number three; in the match against Mumbai Indians, Russell was 6 from 12 balls at one stage, before he went on to score 74 from the next 28 balls.
Chris Lynn’s last seven scores read: 50, 0, 82, 1, 51, 0, 54. KKR will hope the opener can break the pattern of half-centuries followed by poor scores.
Among the bowlers, the Ashwins have been outstanding for Kings XI Punjab; while the off-spinner Ravichandran has picked up several wickets, the leg-spinner Murugan has helped keep the runs down. The Knight Riders will expect Sunil Narine to get stuck into his favourite opponent; the Trinidadian has picked up more wickets against KXIP than against any other opponent.
Head to Head in Indian Premier League
Overall: Matches – 24, Kings XI Punjab – 8, Kolkata Knight Riders – 16.
Since May 2014: Kings XI Punjab – 2, Kolkata Knight Riders – 10.
Last League-stage Fixture:
For Kings XI Punjab: 5 May - v Chennai Super Kings in Mohali.
For Kolkata Knight Riders: 5 May – v Mumbai Indians in Mumbai.