KKR to flex their muscles against Kings XI

I’m not sure there has been a team in more of a desperate need of a win than Kings XI Punjab, but they will be hopeful of putting in a more complete performance as they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday afternoon. KKR go in to this one on the back of a narrow win against CSK last time out.

The Universe Boss is ready to go… ish

Kings XI went in to their match on Thursday with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in desperate need of a spark to fire them back in to life and they were so close to getting that with the first inkling of seeing Chris Gayle in a Kings XI shirt this year. But it wasn’t to be, as the Universe Boss was struck down with food poisoning at the 11th hour, keeping him on the side-lines for one more game at least.

It was a fairly rank performance by Kings XI last time out, with the Sunrisers racing to 160-0 from 15 overs, courtesy of Jonny Bairstow and David Warner. But they gained some momentum going in to the innings break, as they managed to peg them back and keep them to 201-6.

In return they never got going. A mix up in the middle saw Mayank Agarwal run out for 9 and from there they lost wickets at regular intervals, leading to Kings XI being bowled out for 132 from just 16.5 overs. A pretty dismal tale for Kings XI but one shining light was the audacious knock of 77 from 37 balls from Nicholas Pooran, which included three 100m+ sixes in a row.

A surge to the summit

Brendon McCullum’s KKR find themselves in a decent position after their first five games, and a win in this one could see them level on points with the leaders of the IPL.

It was a change in approach from the Knight Riders last time out as they secured their third win of the campaign against the Chennai Super Kings. They moved pinch hitting spinner Sunil Narine down to number four from his usual position opening the batting and it allowed Rahul Tripathi the chance to open the innings. And this was a roaring success as the 29-year-old hit 81 to get KKR up to 167 from their 20 overs.

After 10 overs of the run chase, the KKR bowlers would have been concerned, as CSK only needed 78 more runs to win with nine wickets in hand. But some economical bowling from Pat Cummins, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Sunil Narine, who all went at under eight runs per over, secured the two points for the team from Kolkata.

Match Tip

If Gayle comes in and opens the batting, which is likely, the chances of him finding his feet straight away are slim and with Tripathi and Gill in decent touch for KKR, they could get off to the better start.

I am backing the Kolkata Knight Riders to have a higher opening partnership than Kings XI Punjab at 2.10 with 888sport.

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