Mohali, May 2 : Eyeing for the playoffs berth, both Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab will desperately look for a win as they face as each other in the next IPL match of the ongoing IPL season at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium on Friday.
KXIP will play this match after coming from back of three losses on the trot against the DC, RCB and SRH whereas the Knight Riders broke their losing streak after a thumping win against the strong Mumbai Indians in their last game. Both teams have 5 wins from 12 games but due to a better net run-rate, KKR are at the sixth while KXIP are seventh spot in the IPL points table. This is the second match of the season between the two sides, KKR won by 28 runs when these two met last time in Kolkata. KXIP campaign have been very similar to prevoius year, where they had a great start and then tapered off at the back end. One of the biggest reasons for KXIP’s downfall is the constant chopping and changing.
Like last year, KXIP batting is largely reliant on the openers, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul and the opening duo has scored nearly 50 per cent of the teams runs this season. Rahul has scored 520 runs so far in the season and even he performed well in the last match but wasn't able to get KXIP over the line. Apart from openers, the likes of Mayank Agarwal, David Miller and Nicholas Pooran have done good occasionally. In bowling, KXIP captain Ashwin has lead the side from the front and took 14 wickets with an economy of 7.21. The Bengal pacer, M Shami has also taken 16 wickets this season but KXIP bowlers lack consistency and struggled especially in the death overs.
On the other hand, KKR returned to winning ways against Mumbai Indians in their last game. KKR needs to win in their final two games to have an outside chance of qualifying for the Play-offs. In the last match, KKR batsmen including Shubman Gill (75), Chris Lynn (54) and Andre Russell (80 not out) fired together and posted a mammoth 232 and later defended to register a much-needed 34 run win. However, Russell has been the only consistent batsman for the KKR in this season. He has scored 486 runs from 12 games at a strike rate of over 200.
KKR bowling have been a weak link throughout the season. Veteran players like Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla have leaked runs at the crucial stages of the game. Even, young Kuldeep Yadav have been out of form and dropped from the side. In head to head contest, KKR and KXIP have played 24 matches so far in the tournament. KKR have emerged victorious in 16 games, while Kings XI have managed to win only eight times. (UNI)