Punjab Kings had played their first 3 games at the Wankhede in Mumbai. They registered a thrilling win over Rajasthan Royals in the opening encounter. PK posted a mammoth total (221) and scraped home by 4 runs in that game. But since then the Punjab franchise have flattered to deceive. They were completely outplayed by CSK in their second game. While they went on to lose against DC even though they were in a dominant position.
How are Punjab Kings shaping up?
PK’s problems have been confounded with their captain KL Rahul’s conservative approach. They will be hoping for him to play his natural game and set the tempo. The Chennai pitch tested the PK team even more. PK could score a paltry 120 batting first against SRH. They went on to lose by 9 wickets. PK came roaring back and defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets. They will be eager to carry on the winning momentum.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ woes:
Kolkata Knight Riders are languishing at the bottom of the points table. They made a solid start to the tournament defeating SRH in their opening game. But since then KKR have flattered to deceive. They lost a match against MI from a winning position. KKR failed to score 31 runs in the last 5 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Their bizarre tactics cost them the game against RCB. They conceded 204 runs on the Chennai strip. The score eventually proved to be way above par. KKR were 31-5 chasing 221 against CSK.
KKR staged a wonderful counter-attack to come back in the game. But they eventually lost out since they kept losing wickets. KKR looked out of place in the match against RR. They showed no intent both with the bat and with the ball. KKR will want to forget that match in a hurry and get their campaign back on track.
PK vs KKR: Favourites?
Punjab Kings walk into this game with the confidence of defeating Mumbai Indians. They have two wins from 5 games. PK will be in slightly better shape as compared to KKR who were dismal in their game with RR. KKR need a serious dose of inspiration to overcome lethargy and lack of self-belief. It promises to be an intriguing tussle.
Which players will be match-winners in this game?
PK might bring in Jhye Richardson looking at the conditions on offer. The Ahmedabad wicket suits tearaway pace bowling. Richardson or Riley Meredith might prove to be the game-changers.
Chris Gayle found form in the game against MI. He has a stellar record against KKR.
KKR might be tempted to play Lockie Ferguson for his sheer pace. Sunil Narine might be dropped to accommodate Ferguson but it will disturb the team balance.
Eoin Morgan is under immense pressure to deliver. This game might just see him unleash his complete range.
Ravi Bishnoi bowled a wonderful spell against MI. He will be crucial to negate KKR’s big hitters.
Varun Chakravarthy might find assistance from the pitch in Ahmedabad. He has been KKR’s sole bright spot.
Probable Playing XI:
Punjab Kings predicted XI:
KL Rahul (WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Jhye Richardson, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammad Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Kolkata Knight Riders predicted XI:
Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
What do stats say about PK vs KKR?
PK and KKR have played 27 IPL games against each other.
PK has won 9 matches. KKR has won 18 games.
PK’s highest score against KKR is 214. KKR’s highest score against PK is 245.
PK’s lowest score against KKR is 119. KKR’s lowest score against PK is 109.
The Ahmedabad pitch aids quality fast bowling. Bowlers who tend to hit the pitch hard might find assistance from the surface. The black and red soil pitch also has a say in the outcome of the contest. Black soil offers variable bounce and it might prove counterproductive to stroke-making.
A high of 43 degrees and a low of 27 degrees is expected. There are no chances of rain. Dew might play a big factor and teams will prefer to chase under such weather conditions.
170 is the average score at this venue.
It is a battle between PK’s resurgence and KKR’s fight for survival. PK start favourites in this game.