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Indian T20 League 2020 Preview: How KXIP vs KKR Will Shape Up

Team Punjab will continue to seek their second win of the Indian T20 League campaign in KXIP vs KKR, where they take on Kolkata at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the first clash of the doubleheader on October 10, which will be the 24th match of the tournament.

While KKR come to the match at the back of a close win against Chennai in their last match – which they won by 10 runs, KXIP experienced their fifth defeat of the campaign against SRH on Thursday. The massive 69-run defeat sees KXIP sit at the bottom of the table, although their saving grace is their net run rate of -0. 431 that would come in handy in case they get back to winning ways anytime soon. Kolkata, on the other hand, sit fourth in the IPL 2020 points table with six points after five games.

Apart from their current form, KKR have always enjoyed a healthy lead against KXIP in head-to-head. KXIP have faced KKR 25 times on previous occasions with Kolkata winning 17 of the matches. Here’s how this KXIP vs KKR battle will shape up.

 

KEY BATTLES

KL Rahul vs Rahul Tripathi

Ranked fourth in the ICC T20I batting list, KL Rahul has tried leading KXIP with every ounce of his, but the 28-year-old has very little experience. The opener, however, makes up for it with his batting. Leading the race for the orange cap race, Rahul has tallied 313 runs in six matches, with one century and two half-centuries to his name. In fact, Punjab’s loss to Hyderabad could be attributed very much to Rahul’s early dismissal. However, the in-form batsman shouldn’t fire blank once again and is expected to score more than 28.50 runs.

For KKR, the man of the moment is Rahul Tripathi. The batsman has shown his ability to bat across any position for the team. While his almost perfect innings as a finisher had brought KKR close to a victory against DC, Tripathi’s half-century as an opener against CSK ended up being the differentiator for KKR. He has played only two matches so far, garnering 117 runs with an average of 58.50. Tripathi is expected to open again and should score more than 21.50 runs against an underperforming Punjab bowling side.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Nicholas Pooran

If there is one other player than KL Rahul in the Punjab shirt, who has personified consistency as efficiently, it is Nicholas Pooran. After a slow start against DC, RR and RCB, the West Indian wicket keeper has scored 44 against MI, 33 against CSK and 77 against SRH. The southpaw has been Punjab’s only hope in the middle-order and he is expected to score more than 20.50 against KKR as well.

 

Shubhman Gill

The KKR opener has had a decent start to IPL 2020 amassing 163 runs in five matches so far. Barring his paltry score of 7 and 11 against MI and CSK respectively, the youngster has shone for Kolkata with scores of 70* vs SRH, 47 vs RR and 28 vs DC. Though the former U-19 World Cup hero will look to see off the proceedings more carefully now, Gill is expected to score more than 24.50 against KXIP.

 

Ravi Bishnoi

Rajasthan lad Ravi Bishnoi has emerged as one of Punjab’s most important players this season. With former Indian bowler, Anil Kumble as their coach, the youngster has been turning the ball brilliantly and scalped the all-important wickets of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Abdul Samad in KXIP’s match against SRH. Yet another U-19 World Cup find, Bishnoi has been trustworthy with the bat where he showed his prowess to rotate the strike as and when required. Bishnoi is expected to tally more than 20.50 in player performance.

 

PREDICTED XI

Punjab: KL Rahul (WK) (C), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Simran Singh, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami

Kolkata: Rahul Tripathi, Shubhman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (WK) (C), Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi

 

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