It’s a battle to two desperate teams on the cards © AFP
It’s a battle to two desperate teams on the cards © AFP

With the tournament reaching down to it business end, it is Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who take on Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS), in Match 45 of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday. KKR, who have been in stellar form this season have throughout managed to maintain their spot in the top-four of the points table, as they look to get another win here and inch closer to the playoffs berth. While RPS, on the other hand, who have virtually been knocked out of the playoffs contention, would too aim for a win here and try to spoil KKR’s playoffs party. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Match 45 at Kolkata

KKR, who are coming off a losing performance in their previous tie against Gujarat Lions (GL), aim for a turn around, and try to win at least two more games from their remaining four matches to seal their playoffs berth. RPS, on the other hand, who have been more or less knocked out for a playoffs berth, can still qualify mathematically, but would need something more than a miracle to make that happen. Overall, it’s a battle to two desperate teams on the cards.

Considering their performance in the previous tie, KKR had a decent outing with the bat. Although the openers failed to perform, it was an out of the box performance from Shakib al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan, who scored 66 and 63, respectively, thus allowing KKR to propel towards an upright total. As for the bowling, it was an overall and contributed performance from each of the bowlers, who claimed a wicket each, but was not enough to restrict the GL batsmen to chase down the winning total. IPL 2016: What SRH, GL, RCB, KKR, others must do to qualify for playoffs

As for RPS, it was Adam Zampa, who claimed the best figures in IPL till date– 6 for 19, that indeed destroyed the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s batting order in the last game, but was not enough to restrict them from snatching a four-run win. As for their batting, it was George Bailey, who scored a decent 34, while skipper MS Dhoni too played a decent knock of 30, but not enough to steer RPS towards the winning total.

Thus, considering their performance in the previous tie, changes are likely in both the teams. As for KKR, Manish Pandey could miss out to Manan Sharma, Rajagopal Satish, or Sheldon Jackson. Morne Morkel too could miss out to Shaun Tait or Jason Holder. As for RPS, Usman Khawaja could be replaced by Steven Smith. Also Thisara Perera could miss out to Albie Morkel.

With the game being played at Eden, it could again be a slow wicket, and the skippers could opt to move in with a spin dominated side. As for the condition, KKR would definitely be the favourite to win this tie, considering their relative amount of spin attack. However, RPS too cannot be counted out of the tie as with the seam bowlers they posses, it could be their night out as well. Nevertheless, with KKR being the home team, and the monstrous lung power of the Eden crowd would definitely send the Knights charging in.

Squads:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa (wk), Sheldon Jackson (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan. Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, John Hastings, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.

Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Ashwin Murugan, Ishant Sharma, Kevin Pietersen, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ashoke Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Adam Zampa, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma.

Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)