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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
May 10, 2014
The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are on a roll with seven victories in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. This puts them a victory away from being assured of a spot in the semi-final and they would eye that victory with a face-off against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. Kolkata are just beginning to find their act as they recorded a victory against Delhi Daredevils away. However, Punjab are a strong side and can trample any opposition in its way.
It is fascinating that Cuttack is Punjab’s homeground. Geographically, Cuttack is closer to Kolkata and they may find some support there. However, Punjab have already recorded a victory at Cuttack and if that is anything to go by, then there are runs on offer on this wicket. It could be yet another high scoring encounter, but it would be played in the afternoon this time.
Kolkata have finally found a good opening partnership in Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa. In two consecutive games, they have recorded 100-run stands. That is a major boost for them and in the middle they have players like Jacques Kallis and Ryan ten Doeschate who can rally the batting around. Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan also are important in the middle order.
In the bowling, Kolkata bank on their spinners in Sunil Narine and Shakib to break the momentum in the middle overs. They could well face a test when they come up against Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, who fearlessly attacked the Chennai Super Kings spinners in their previous game at the venue. This is one battle one would look forward to in this game.
Punjab have a well oiled machinery and any changes they effect, come good. Shivam Sharma worked wonders for them in the last game and they might persist with him for this contest. Also, They may well persist with Mandeep Singh at the top with Virender Sehwag. For Kolkata to emerge on top, they would need some inspiration as Punjab look the side to beat in this competition. They need to bring their A-game against a side where all members are in form and performing.
Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (c), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, Rishi Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shaun Marsh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Beuran Hendricks, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Thisara Perera, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Murali Kartik, Sandeep Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Akshar Patel, Parvinder Awana, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, Shivam Sharma, Karanveer Singh.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Jacques Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Manvinder Bisla (wk), Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Sayan Mondal, R Vinay Kumar, Andre Russell, Veer Pratap Singh.
Time: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT
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