KKR have won 14 out of 20 matches against KXIP in IPL    BCCI
KKR have won 14 out of 20 matches against KXIP in IPL BCCI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have won the last eight matches against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Indian Premier League (IPL). All in all, the Knight Riders have the upper hand, with the scoreline reading 14-6 in their favour. Both teams will yet again lock horns, in match 49 of IPL 2017, at Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali. In the last contest, Umesh Yadav ran through the Kings’ middle order, dismissing Glen Maxwell, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, and Akshar Patel. His second 4-wicket haul in IPL limited the Kings to 170 for 9. In reply, Gautam Gambhir scored an unbeaten 72 to seal the deal in a matter of a mere 16.3 overs. Full Cricket Scorecard, KKR vs KXIP, Match 49

Players to watch out for

Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn demolished Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their previous match. The opening duo registered the highest score in the batting powerplay, eventually stitching up 105 runs off 6.1 overs. In addition, Narine reached his half-century in 15 balls, the joint fastest in IPL.

Hashim Amla joined Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle in the elite club, scoring multiple centuries in a season. He scored 104 off 60 against Gujarat Lions in their last contest, in a losing cause.

Sandeep Sharma and Umesh Yadav have been immaculate with their change in pace this season. Their skills will be put to test on such belter of a track.

Key battles

Gautam Gambhir has the lowest strike-rate against Sandeep, while Uthappa had a good time using his long handle to a blasting effect against the medium pacer.

Narine has dismissed Glenn Maxwell twice in IPL. However, in 30 balls Maxwell faced against Piyush Chawla, he lost his wicket thrice.

Wriddhiman Saha has batted at a strike rate of above 140 against Narine and Piyush Chawla.

Likely XI

“Today he [Robin Uthappa] was doing his fitness and all. So, hopefully, he will be good to go in the next game. Hope for the best,” Chawla told BCCI after their previous contest. This means, Sheldon Jackson will have to make way for Uthappa who has been in a sublime form this season, plundering 384 runs with a strike rate 170.6 including 5 half-centuries.

Ankit Rajpoot, on the other hand, is likely to get another nod. He gave away only 25 runs off his 4 overs in the previous contest. However, Chawla was picked ahead of Kuldeep Yadav, but was given only 2 overs. The Knight Riders may have to rethink about Chawla’s role, as he has played only 3 matches compared to Kuldeep’s 10.

Kolkata Knight Riders likely XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa/Sheldon Jackson (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Piyush Chawla/Kuldeep Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot

The Kings may not change the playing XI at such crucial juncture. Though Varun Aaron was uncharacteristic giving away 17 runs in an over in the last match, he otherwise managed to take wicket in pressure situations. In addition, the track at Mohali will offer pace and bounce for the speedster.

Kings XI Punjab likely XI: Martin Guptill, Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell (c), Akshar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Gurkeerat Mann, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron, T Natarajan

The playoffs headache

The Knight Riders need one win of remaining two games to book a place in the IPL 10 playoffs. All the same, the situation is nothing less than an enigma for the Kings. For them to end fourth, Sunrisers Hyderabad should lose their remaining two contests. But if Sunrisers Hyderabad win at least a game, the Kings will have to win all their contest. Let us add more data to it.

If the Kings win all the contests and Rising Pune Supergiant lose theirs, both teams will end on 16 points. Their fate will be decided on the net run rate only if Sunrisers Hyderabad end up on 17 points.

Squads:

Kings XI Punjab: Glenn Maxwell (c), Hashim Amla, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), David Miller, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Manan Vohra, Akshar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, T Natarajan, Swapnil Singh, Darren Sammy, Shaun Marsh, Eoin Morgan, Ishant Sharma, Martin Guptill, Anureet Singh, Varun Aaron, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Matt Henry, Nikhil Naik, Rahul Tewatia, KC Cariappa, Pardeep Sahu, Rinku Singh, Armaan Jaffer.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin de Grandhomme, Kuldeep Yadav, Sheldon Jackson (wk), Piyush Chawla, Shakib Al Hasan, Darren Bravo, Ishank Jaggi, Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Rishi Dhawan, Ankit Rajpoot, Sayan Ghosh, Rovman Powell, Ramsingh Sanjay Yadav

TIME: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT