The Survival Of The Fittest, As KXIP Take On KKR > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Survival of the fittest as KXIP take on KKR
Two close friends from Chennai leading their sides against each other in Punjabi territory with their own set of problems in a must-win scenario. Looking back now, it's ridiculous how Kolkata Knight Riders find themselves with an axe hanging over their heads after a dream start to their 2019 Indian Premier League campaign. It's never a good thing to lose in clusters and it's even worse to lose six in a row.
As much as their ability to grab victories from nowhere in the first five games impressed everyone, heavy defeats in the slump that followed has pushed Dinesh Karthik and Co. into quicksand. Now they desperately need to find the right technique to save their lives.
The story is slightly different for Kings XI Punjab, although not too dissimilar, after all, they find themselves a spot below KKR on net run rate. Three wins out of the first four games and it all looked great for Ravichandran Ashwin's troops. But they steered themselves into turbulent clouds with that unacceptable choke against Chennai Super Kings and it's been a really bumpy ride since then.
They have lost four of their last five games, thanks to their failure to close out key moments - or the lethargy manner in which they threw away games from winning situations.
At this stage, one thing is very clear for both teams to progress to the play-offs. They just cannot get away with wins, but need big enough wins to boost their net run rate over competitors Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Unfortunately, they need other results going their way as well.
When: Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2019, 52nd Match, 08:00 PM IST.
Where: IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
What to expect: The rain gods were kind enough to come down in the evening to help the city beat the dry heat, but the temperatures are expected to be around 37 degrees and no rain has been forecast for Friday. Reduced temperatures and the actual rain itself would have juiced the pitch a bit more, which will aid pace and bounce, should the grass be not trimmed on match day. Mohali has been slightly on the slower side as the temperatures increased in the second half of the tournament, but the pacers could play a bigger part tomorrow with a bit of moisture from the rain today. Playing XIs will be completely dependent on the colour and hardness of the surface on Friday.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab have been a top-order dominant batting unit and the onus is on both Chris Gayle and KL Rahul to get the bulk of runs, especially with the side needing healthy victories. A poor powerplay with the ball, vulnerable middle-order and a poor lower-order puts extra pressure on the duo. Rain on the eve of the game meant the players weren't able to take the field. A day before though, Arshdeep Singh was seen bowling in full tilt on an optional practice day under the watchful eyes of Ryan Harris and Craig McMillan. He was even involved in a long friendly battle with Nicholas Pooran who was given targets by their gurus, while Sam Curran batted for close to two hours.
Would the team be brave enough to play Curran over the under-performing David Miller in a crunch game? Andrew Tye was seen practising his variations before he batted for a bit. Would they opt for him ahead of Mujeeb's mystery?
Probable XI: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, David Miller/Sam Curran, Simran Singh(w)/Mandeep Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Mujeeb Ur Rahman/Andrew Tye
Kolkata Knight Riders
The visitors would be delighted with Shubman Gill finding form at the top of the order as it eases pressure on Andre Russell, who has won games single-handedly. With the team in need of a very good last two games, Russell needs a lot of support with the bat. The bowling is a massive worry and they have tried fresh faces in the last few games. The fact that they don't have good replacement players sums up their season for KKR, who have a battle within themselves before the actual encounter against KXIP. They were out in almost full tilt and completed their practice just before the heavens opened up.
Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Sandeep Warrier, Harry Gurney
What they said
"We are only worried about what we can do ... And that's to win the next two games and more importantly win tomorrow to set us up for the last game. We are not worried about the other games, we have no control over it. We have played really well and have had some time off from the last game so the boys are fresh and ready to go" - Jacques Kallis, KKR head coach.
"There is no issue around lifting the spirit of the team (after a big defeat in the last game). We have still got a chance in this competition. But first of all we need to play some better cricket. There is no point looking at the points table and thinking about what's happened in the past" - Mike Hesson, KXIP head coach.
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