The Knight Riders will welcome the Kings XI to the cauldron that is Eden Gardens this Wednesday.Following their narrow loss against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede over the weekend, the Kolkata Knight Riders return home to host the Kings XI Punjab.
Can the Kings XI continue their strong start to the season and make it three from three or will the Knight Riders get back to winning ways following their defeat over the weekend?
KKR vs KIVP | Thursday 13 April 2017 | Eden Gardens, Kolkata | 16:30
To Win Match
Knight Riders 83/100 | Tie 35/1 | Kings XI 1/1
Kolkata Knight Riders
Fans of the Knight Riders - as well as neutrals - would have been absolutely gutted with the news that Chris Lynn may play no further role in this tournament. This comes after he injured his left shoulder – the same one that has consistently given him trouble over the last few years – in the field against the Mumbai Indians.
The Australian gave fans a taste of his ability in the Knight Riders’ opening match of the season as he raced to 93* off just 41 balls as the Kolkata franchise defeated the Gujarat Lions by 10 wickets.
While there has been no official word from the Knight Riders as to how long he’ll be out, reports in India seem to suggest that his tournament could be over.
Fortunately for KKR, they have Darren Bravo waiting in the wings. The big Trinidadian has proven his worth in this competition before for the Deccan Chargers before his current franchise. While he may not be as exciting as Lynn, he brings immense experience to the starting XI and will no doubt make a great opening partner for Gautam Gambhir who has been in decent touch himself this year.
Bowling-wise, it may be time to drop Trent Boult. The New Zealand seamer has had a pretty terrible start to the season, conceding 87 runs in 7.5 overs whilst only picking up one wicket in the process. The natural change would see Nathan Coulter-Nile come into the side in a straight swap.
The rest of the bowlers have all been playing pretty well. Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav have done a good job in the middle overs while the seam duo of Chris Woakes and Ankit Rajpoot were solid enough in the match against the Indians and will look to produce the goods again this Thursday.
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI have very much been the surprise package of this season’s IPL. Two convincing wins in their opening two matches see them second on the table with a healthy net run rate at the time of writing.
Glenn Maxwell has clearly enjoyed the added responsibility of the captaincy, something that has been reflected in his performances thus far. The Aussie all-rounder – who came into the IPL following a pretty successful Test series against India – has scored 87-runs in two innings striking at 207.
Hashim Amla is another player who has starred for the franchise this term, getting the side off to solid starts in both matches along with Manan Vohra at the top of the innings. David Miller has contributed when called upon while Axar Patel has been allowed to showcase his considerable batting talent further up the order than he would have anticipated prior to the IPL getting underway.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Sanjay Bangar will want to disrupt this batting unit to give Eoin Morgan a run. I’m just not sure who’d get the cut if they include the English captain. Marcus Stoinis may have to make way to accommodate Morgan at the expense of an solid seaming option.
Needless to say, these are the types of headaches you want as a coach. If it were up to me, I don’t think I’d fiddle too much with a winning formula, although, there may be pressure from owners to get Morgan a game or two before he departs mid-way through the competition for a home bi-lateral series against South Africa.
Verdict: Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI have been nothing short of sensational this season. They’ve won both of their matches comfortably against two of the stronger franchises in the competition. Getting them at evens here is a gift that shouldn’t be passed up – get on!