Kings XI Punjab would look to continue from where they left on Sunday versus Gujarat Lions© AFP     Kings XI Punjab would look to continue from where they left on Sunday versus Gujarat Lions © AFP
Kings XI Punjab would look to continue from where they left on Sunday versus Gujarat Lions© AFP

Cricket expert and recently-sacked-commentator, Harsha Bhogle, stated that Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) may have left it till too late since qualification from here will be akin to a Leicester City kind of dream run.  For him, they must play like a team who has nothing to lose from now on and bring up their A game. In their last enocunter, Kings XI got the better of table-toppers Gujarat Lions and it may have been a bad day for the Suresh Raina-led team but credit should be given to Punjab for their performance. Harsha explained that with Marcus Stoinis, the all-rounder and opener,allowing Gurkeerat Mann to come back, David Miller being back to what he does best, i.e. finishing an innings, and Murali Vijay calling the shots upfront may bring their best soon. Full Cricket Scorecard:Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2016 Match 32 at Eden Gardens

On the other hand, while speaking to the Times of India, he termed Kolkata Knight Riders’ win over Royal Challengers Bangalore as the much-needed boost a team needs mid-way into the tournament.  Bhogle quoted, “The problem with such big tournaments are that a team can start with a bang and perish soon and KKR must know that feeling well after a couple of defeats.”

The balance of the KKR side is such that there are match-winners till the lower order and if each one of them performs twice in the group stage, they will still manage to make it to the playoffs for the fourth time.  He is particularly impressed with the handling of Yusuf Pathan by the KKR camp and it came under notice against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday. He stated, “If Kolkata Knight Riders go the distance, they will look back at the run chase against RCB as one of the key moments.”  They are set to play their next four games in their home ground and stay for two weeks at one location.

The importance of that cannot be underestimated. It will be interesting to see what kind of pitches they get at the Eden ‘ Gardens. Traditionally, the pitch was slow that helped spinners and they often played four or five options. But post the India-Pakistan game at the World T20, the Eden Gardens has produced very different surfaces. KKR will have to adapt to the changes in conditions quickly to remain in the top four, added the reputed commentator.

Over these four games KKR will be looking for a few things to be ready for greater challenges ahead. The home team, as put forth by Bhogle, would want to tick a few boxes as they cruise ahead in their campaign. He added that, “KKR will want a few runs from comeback-man, Manish Pandey, a couple more good spells from their trump-card, Sunil Narine who no longer bowls his full quota of four overs and hope for Shakib al Hasan to fire on all cylinders from now on.”  If these things fall into place, the Knight Riders  will become a deadly team to watch out for in the business end of the league stages, adds Bhogle.