Crunch game in race for top four
Dubai plays host to Match 45 of the Indian Premier League as two team fighting it out for a top four place go head-to-head as the Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Punjab Kings. The Knight Riders find themselves in 4th place as I write this but they will be looking over their shoulders at three teams that could very easily overtake them if they slip up. One of them sides are the Punjab Kings who will be eyeing up three wins from three to end their campaign this year.
It was an impressive win from KKR last time out as they took two points off the well organised Delhi Capitals. It was an unusually low scoring affair at the postage stamp that is Sharjah, with the bowlers restricting the Capitals to 127-9 from their twenty overs. Two wickets apiece for Lockie Ferguson, Sunil Narine and Venkatesh Iyer.
However they didn’t make it easy for themselves in response, taking the game in to the penultimate over and losing seven wickets in the process. Nitish Raina was the glue, scoring an unbeaten 36 as wickets tumbled all around him. Shubman Gill got the innings off to a solid start with his steady 30, before a ten ball cameo from Narine, which including two maximums made sure that KKR would be taking the points from this one.
Despite the win, Eoin Morgan’s men will be hoping for an improved performance if they want to carry on the road to potential IPL glory this year, and what an important time to do it, against a side that could climb to level on point with you in the table if you lose.
Defeat at the death
The Punjab Kings looked in a good position for large chunks of their match with the Mumbai Indians last time out, and then it all unravelled in the final four overs, as they slumped to a six wicket defeat with six balls left.
Despite only putting 135 on the board, they managed to have the champs needing over 40 runs to win from the final four overs, and in a commanding position. But some explosive hitting from Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard, stole the points away from the Kings.
They will need to bounce back in this one, or their chances of making the play-offs, suddenly seems slim.
As most of the games are in the IPL, it will be tight, but the Kolkata Knight Riders go in to this grudge match in better form and have a more consistent approach to their cricket.
This is why I am backing the Kolkata Knight Riders to beat the Punjab Kings at 1.66 with Betway.