Kolkata Knight Riders are just a win or two away from securing a place in the top four.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are currently placed at third spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) table. They are in prime position to make it to the playoffs, but they need to overcome Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) first in their next match. KXIP have not been in good form, but they will not be pushovers by any stretch of imagination. KKR managed to chase down a stiff target of 185 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their previous match and will be full of confidence going into this match. Their players are peaking just at the right time and it will surely be a headache for the captain to pick the XI. However, let’s have a look at the likely XI for KKR’s match against KXIP.
Top-order: Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have been in excellent form in the tournament and KKR will surely not change their combination at the top. Chris Lynn came in at No. 3 in the previous match, but it is a position where Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav too have done well for them. However, it might be a good idea to give Colin Munro a go. He played just a couple of matches in the initial stages. His inclusion may bode well for KKR.
Middle-order: Pandey made a return to the team after missing out for a few games due to illness. He will be a crucial figure in the middle-order. It will not be surprising to see him bat at No. 3, depending on the situation of the match. Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell proved their prowess with the bat in the previous match and will once again look to explode, if given an opportunity in this match. The reliable Suryakumar adds stability to the middle-order as well.
Bowlers: Russell has often opened the bowling for KKR and will perhaps continue to do so in this match as well. The main concern has however been the form of Umesh Yadav. He conceded 56 runs in his spell against RCB and it will be surprising to see him play. Jaydev Unadkat has played just one match so far and must be given a chance. Unadkat may not be express pace, but will not compromise on line and length.
However, it will be interesting to see if Morne Morkel retains his place. He bowled very well in the previous match, but considering the will be played at Eden Gardens, skipper Gambhir may be tempted to have an extra spinner. Brad Hogg or Shakib-al-Hasan might be apt replacements for Morkel. Shakib’s inclusion will give KKR a bit more depth in batting as well. However, Sunil Narine had a poor game by his standards in the previous match, but he should e given a go, considering he is the main wicket-taker in the team.
KKR’s likely XI: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Coin Munro, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Jaydev Unadkat, Sunil Narine, Mone Morkel/Brad Hogg.