Team Punjab are on a roll having won four out of their previous four matches while Kolkata, on the other hand, has just won an important match against Delhi when it matters the most. Both teams have three matches in the tournament and it seems like KKR vs KXIP will be a mini knockout competition for both.
KKR vs KXIP is scheduled to happen in Sharjah which started as the graveyard for bowlers has now turned conducive for spin bowlers as the pitch has slowed down. Kolkata still haven’t cracked the code of doing well at this venue but Punjab will be confident leading into this match having beaten Bangalore handsomely on this ground.
This rivalry has been as one-sided as a fixture can possibly get. Kolkata have won eighteen times as compared to just eight matches won by Punjab. The previous encounter these two went down to the wire where Kolkata pulled off the biggest heist of this season so far.
Dinesh Kartik vs Glenn Maxwell
Dinesh Karthik has struggled with his batting this season having scored 148 runs at a strike rate of 122.31 and an average of 14.8. This is Karthik’s third-worst season in terms of runs scored in 10 plus innings. The middle-order of that Kolkata team isn’t settled and they change it around too often for consistency. Dinesh has batted almost every position in that middle order but his best position in terms of lucrative return has been at number six. He has his highest strike rate and average when he bats at number 6 also his dot ball percentage of 28.1 is the lowest when he bats at that position.
Glenn Maxwell has probably been the most disappointing player in this season. He has been more effective as a bowler than a batter and that tells us the dismal form he’s been in. Punjab’s 5 to 7 batsmen have scored just 234 runs, the least by any team’s lower middle order. Their average has been 14.63 which is against the worst in the tournament. The reason for this has been Maxwell’s wretched run with the bat and Punjab desperately need him to fire.
He should relish batting at Sharjah given the size of the ground and he needs to show his effectiveness when his team needs him the most.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Varun Chakravarthy became the only Kolkata bowler to take 10 plus wickets in this with a five-for against Delhi in the last match. Chakravarthy has been slowly flying under the radar while the spotlight has been on bowlers like Cummins, Narine and Ferguson
With the pitches slowing up expect Varun to show his best.
It was confusing that Mayank Agarwal wasn’t playing Punjab’s previous match still the ‘Universe Boss’ didn’t open the innings for them. He’d enjoy playing in Sharjah in this match and apart from Lockie Ferguson nobody else in that Kolkata bowling line-up could trouble him.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (C), Sunil Narine, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi
KXIP: KL Rahul (WK) (C), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
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