Two confident sides Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will come face to face in match number of 18 of the Indian Premier League 2018 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday. While KKR were successful in overcoming Rajasthan Royals, Punjab courtesy Chris Gayle’s smashing hundred ended Sunrisers Hyderabad’s three-game winning streak.
KKR put up a brilliant all-round effort against Rajasthan Royals. Nitish Rana, yet again, led with the bat and ball. And, the spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla too continued to shine. Rana took the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and D’Arcy Short, and also hit an unbeaten 35 to take the team over the line.
Apart from Rana, Robin Uthappa’s return to form is also good news for KKR. Skipper Dinesh Karthik too has been among the runs. But, Kolkata would be worried with the form of Chris Lynn, who again failed against Rajasthan. Thankfully, the other opener, Sunil Narine, has continued to surprise with his unique batting skills.
For Punjab, the biggest plus has been the excellent form of Chris Gayle. The Windies big-hitter followed up his match-winning 33-ball 63 against Chennai, with an even better 104 from 63 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was enough for Punjab to register a convincing win. His assault on Rashid Khan was masterful.
Overall, Punjab have an impressive batting line-up with Aaron Finch, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Yuvraj Singh. Their bowling is a worry though. Mohit Sharma particularly has been very expensive. They would look to make it up in other departments though.
Played 21. Kolkata won 14, Punjab won 7
Head-to-Head at Eden Gardens
Played 9. Kolkata won 7, Punjab won 2
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C) (W), Piyush Chawla, Tom Curran, Cameron Delport, Ishank Jaggi, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Prasidh Krishna, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Javon Searles, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Robin Uthappa, Vinay Kumar, Apporv Wankhade
Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Akshdeep Nath, Mayank Agarwal, Mayank Dagar, Ben Dwarshuis, Aaron Finch, Chris Gayle, Manzoor Dar, David Miller, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, Axar Patel, Lokesh Rahul (W), Ankit Rajpoot, Pradeep Sahu, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Marcus Stoinis, Manoj Tiwary, Andrew Tye, Yuvraj Singh