This game promises to be an intriguing battle, both teams have substantially-underperformed in this year’s IPL yet still find themselves in playoffs contention! Ending a run of six-consecutive losses, Kolkata may have just left it too late to revive their campaign. Before this game even gets underway, both sides will be cheering on Mumbai against Hyderabad later tonight in order to keep that final spot in the top four up for grabs.
Kings XI Punjab
As far as the Indian Premier League goes, it hasn’t been a memorable one for Kings XI Punjab so far in 2019. To put it simply, they’ve just lacked consistent-contributions which could almost be the story of their season. Chris Gayle is the only exception, the ‘universe boss’ isn’t renowned for his consistency, more so his match-winning knocks which is why he’s paid big money by franchises all around the world. With that being said, Gayle has actually been one of Punjab’s more consistent performers alongside KL Rahul and his skipper Ravi Ashwin this season. KL Rahul continues to improve each & every year in the IPL, the dynamic right-hander amassing 520 runs so far for Kings XI in 2019 which has almost single-handedly kept his team in the playoffs race. Both Mayank Agarwal and David Miller made brilliant starts to the tournament, but they’ve since been searching for runs as opposed to scoring them. Windies wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran has showcased his talent with the willow in his past two matches striking at 187.14, not a bad option to lift the run rate!
I’ve been saying it all tournament, Kings XI can’t leave it all up to Gayle and Rahul. The amount of changes they’ve been making to their playing XI has left them unsettled as well, some of their players would be playing on edge knowing that one slip up could cost them their spot in the side. It’s good to see both Mohammed Shami and Ravi Ashwin having some success with the ball in this year’s IPL, very-similar to the Gayle-Rahul partnership with the bat. Both have struggled in the past when it comes to the IPL, but this season the two veterans have combined for 30 wickets which is where most of them team’s success with the ball has come from. This next match could get very-ugly for Punjab, the Kolkata Knight Riders are an extremely-aggressive batting unit that show no mercy. The losing team is eliminated from the playoffs race, it’s as simple as that.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The Knight Riders have left themselves with a lot to do if they’re to make this season’s IPL playoffs, but previous tournaments have shown that anything’s possible. It took a monumental-performance with the bat to get them over the line against Mumbai at the Eden Gardens last week, Shubman Gill and Andre Russell starring with the willow as they piled on 232/2 at the end of their innings. The decision to move Gill up the order in recent times has paid off, there was plenty of debate over the decision to drop Sunil Narine from the opening slot given his ability to tee off from ball one, but in the end it’s benefited the team. Some time away from the teams seems to have reignited skipper Dinesh Karthik as well, he’s looked a lot more confident and is getting the job done for Kolkata in the middle order. That 97 not out against Rajasthan marked the return of Karthik, and a return to form means he can focus more on the job at hand without worrying about his own struggles.
Last but not least, Andre Russell. The Windies all-rounder has struck the most sixes in this season’s IPL with a whopping-50 to his name; Russell also has the highest strike rate in the tournament sitting on 207.69. There’s a reason why he’s leading the 2019 MVP award – 486 runs, features twice in the top 5 fastest half century list and has taken 10 wickets with the ball. It’s amazing to think that Kuldeep Yadav isn’t in Kolkata’s best XI, but the fact of the matter is that he’s had an absolute shocker with the ball in 2019. After a slow start to IPL 12, Sunil Narine has significantly raised his output with the ball claiming 9 wickets in his past six outings, before that he’d taken just 1 wicket in four games. Piyush Chawla was the unlucky one to get dispatched in KKR’s last match, however he’s been very serviceable for Dinesh Karthik this season with 10 wickets.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kings XI Punjab
- KL Rahul
- Ravi Ashwin
- Chris Gayle
- Mayank Agarwal
Wildcard pick – Nicholas Pooran
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kolkata Knight Riders
- Andre Russell
- Shubman Gill
- Sunil Narine
- Nitish Rana
Wildcard pick – Robbie Uthappa
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Karun Nair/Sarfaraz Khan 5. Nicholas Pooran (wk) 6. David Miller/Mandeep Singh 7. Ravi Ashwin © 8. Hardus Viljoen/Mujeeb Ur Rahman 9. Murugan Ashwin 10. Mohammed Shami 11. Arshdeep Singh/Ankit Rajpoot.
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Shubman Gill 2. Chris Lynn 3. Robbie Uthappa 4. Nitish Rana 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 6. Andre Russell 7. Sunil Narine 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Harry Gurney 11. Sandeep Warrier/Prasidh Krishna.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.