The boys from Tamil Nadu will go head to head as Dinesh Karthik’s KKR play host to Ravichandran Ashwin’s KXIP at Eden Gardens tonight. While Russell powered KKR to a winning start in the previous game, it was Ashwin who was the talk of the town in Punjab’s victory over RR.
Andre Russell played a blinder of a knock as his 19 ball 49 took KKR home in their first match vs SRH. It looked at a point impossible to reach the target as they needed 55 off the last 18 balls. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling choices failed to pay off, handing the victory to the hosts.
Thus coming out victorious from an impossible position, KKR will consider themselves very lucky. Now their only aim will be to extend the winning record at home when they take on Kings XI Punjab tonight.
Head to head at Eden Gardens doesn’t help Punjab’s cause. In the 10 outings there, KXIP have recorded just 3 wins, losing on 7 other occasions. But they will take confidence from the fact that they beat Kolkata at their home turf last time around.
In last year’s encounter, it was the duo of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul who came to the party, each recording a score of 60+. Now with Gayle in prime from, the boys from Punjab will fancy their chances to get away with a result.
Punjab come into this encounter after beating Rajasthan Royals from jaws of defeat. Their victory clearly became the talk of the town as Ashwin’s method to dismiss Jos Buttler sparked a huge debate. Ashwin however will put all these controversies behind his back and have his full concentration on what is up to come.
Having won their first game and playing their second consecutive home match, KKR will be expected to retain the same side today. Only place where they could tweak will be their batting lineup.
It was clearly due to a finger issue that Narine did not walk out to bat on Sunday. But with him having recovered from it, it will be interesting to see whether he replaces an in form Rana at the top of the order.
EXPECTED XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik (c/wk), Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna.
Despite winning for the first time in six attempts at Jaipur, the KXIP side faced a lot of problems with their bowlers. Despite picking 2 wickets at the death, Curran proved to be very expensive, finding it difficult to adapt to new surroundings.
This might prompt the side to replace his services with Andrew Tye, who had a memorable outing last season. With Miller returning from national duties and with his abilities to smash huge sixes, he will most likely be slotted in for Pooran. In case Miller is roped in for the West Indian, KL Rahul will don the wicket keeping gloves.
Even though Karun Nair did not feature on Monday, he had a good outing on the field after coming in as a substitute. With Agarwal and Sarfraz in form, inclusion of Karun will only mean that Mandeep has to sit out.
EXPECTED XI: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh/Karun Nair, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ankit Rajpoot.