Andre Russell and Chris Gayle have been on top for KKR and KXIP respectively    AFP
Andre Russell and Chris Gayle have been on top for KKR and KXIP respectively AFP

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will take on high in confidence Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Match 18 of VIVO IPL 2018 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Where KKR are coming after 7-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Jaipur, KXIP rode on Chris Gayle s century at Mohali halting Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) s winning streak.

Nitish Rana was on top in the previous game as he fired with the bat and ball. Rana supported the KKR spinners Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav to hand KKR their second win in 2018 IPL. Rana took the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and D Arcy Short who looked to score big. While chasing, Rana scored an unbeaten 35 to see through KKR home. Apart from Rana, KKR also have Robin Uthappa and the skipper himself Dinesh Karthik who came good with the bat against RR. Sunil Narine has impressed with his cameos at the opening spot.

The only worry for KKR is the form of Chris Lynn who lasted for just two deliveries against RR. Lynn has struggled with spin in 2018 IPL. It began with Shakib Al Hasan in the first game against SRH. RR’s K Gowtham castled Lynn in the previous game. KKR might persist with Lynn for another game to see how he tackles the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Mujeeb Zadran.

KKR s spin troika Chawla, Kuldeep and Sunil Narine have been walking hand-in-hand with their batsmen thus far. Narine, however, registered his worst IPL figures against RR going for 4-0-48-0. Narine would aim to not just surprise the opponent with his cameos but also stun the batsmen with his spin attack. Overall, KKR are likely to stick with the same unit who handed them 71-run win at Eden Gardens against Delhi Daredevils (DD).

KXIP s batting unit looks settled. Chris Gayle s entry has just spiced up IPL. After being overlooked in 2018 IPL auctions twice, Gayle proved why he was worth all the money. As KXIP enter the contest against KKR, they would go unchanged against KKR. KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal and now Aaron Finch, all are adding the runs on board.

However, KXIP’s bowling unit need to pull up their socks. Ashwin went for 53 runs while Mohit Sharma leaked 51 against SRH.

KKR Likely 11:

Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Shivam Mavi and Kuldeep Yadav.

KXIP Likely 11:

KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Barinder Sran, Mohit Sharma and Mujeeb Zadran.

Predictions:

KXIP, who have played one match less, lost just one game from their four outings. When it comes to head-to-head record, KKR have a superior record winning 14 games from 21 matches. The Chris Gayle and Andre Russell show is in the offering at Eden Gardens.