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HomeCricket T20IPL Match 18 Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab

IPL Match 18 Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

KKR vs KXIP IPL 2018

A Saturday treat. Top spot on the IPL table up for grabs. Plenty of West Indian flavour. Both sides in form, with plenty of power as well as bowling prowess. Promises to be a beauty at Eden Gardens!

Kolkata Knight Riders have surprised me so far. With all the distractions they had in the lead up, as well as having the smallest squad, they have lit up the tournament so far, sitting top of the league. The form of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, who both had disrupted build ups to the tournament, has been irresistible – and that’s not where it ends. Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik are in solid form, and their spin attack continues to threaten. However, KKR would like more from their seamers, as relying only on spin against a team that dismantled Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan can be risky. Also, KKR would be hoping Chris Lynn can get going, and match the danger Kings XI Punjab present.

Kings XI Punjab have marked themselves down as definite top four contenders. Led by Ravichandran Ashwin’s aggressive captaincy, and the introduction of the Universe Boss, KXIP took it to SRH, a side that hadn’t conceded 150 in their first three games. It would have been an easy option to bowl first (like every other captain has done) and get SRH to set a score for once, but Ashwin decided to bat and his batsmen delivered.

So far in IPL 2018, the average totals for both teams are KKR 176 and KXIP 178, so who will come out on top in the battle of the powerful batting line ups?

Key to a Kolkata Knight Riders win:

It was such a pleasing performance for KKR in their previous clash, dismantling Rajasthan Royals at 
cricket-blog-twitter
a ground where RR had won nine straight. 
KKR’s batting packs an awesome punch, but can their bowlers fare better than SRH did against KXIP? KXIP’s top order – boasting Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal and Aaron Finch needs to be reigned in. How will KKR go about this?
Piyush Chawla was absolutely superb against RR, delivering three overs in the powerplay, and finishing with 1/18 off four overs. However, KXIP present a bigger test than RR’s out of form players, so the contribution the likes of Chawla, Narine and Kuldeep Yadav is vital. With KKR’s batting looking pretty good right now, the bowlers have a chance to make a very big mark.

Key to a Kings XI Punjab win:

KXIP look to have a really well balanced side right now. Ravi Ashwin’s captaincy has been awesome, and you know he won’t let KKR settle.
KKR will be targeting KXIP’s strong line up with spin – how will KXIP handle the variety in the home side’s attack today? With Narine, Chawla and Yadav, KKR have the ability to get the ball coming both in and away to both right and left handers. KXIP will need to look to maintain their aggressiveness, and will be boosted by the confidence of taking it to Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan in their previous outing – two quality, proven T20 bowlers went for a combined 83 runs in six overs.
If KKR’s spinners can’t control things, I can’t see their pacers picking up the slack, which will hold KXIP in good stead.

Predicted teams:

Expect KKR to stick with the same team that has delivered good performances. However, eyes will be on Chris Lynn – can this big power hitter get going? Also, Andre Russell wasn’t required in the last game against RR, so it will be interesting to see what he does here if he gets a chance.
Kolkata Knight Riders XI: 1. Chris Lynn, 2. Sunil Narine, 3. Robin Uthappa, 4. Nitish Rana, 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), 6. Andre Russell, 7. Shubman Gill, 8. Piyush Chawla, 9. Tom Curran, 10. Shivam Mavi, 11. Kuldeep Yadav
For KXIP, the main question would be whether to go with Axar Patel or Barinder Sran. Sran was excellent against SRH, going for just 22 in four overs, but could make way for Patel if he covers from a quad strain.
Kings XI Punjab XI: 1. KL Rahul (wk), 2. Chris Gayle, 3. Mayank Agarwal, 4. Karun Nair, 5. Aaron Finch, 6. Yuvraj Singh, 7. R Ashwin (c), 8. Andrew Tye, 9. Barinder Sran, 10. Mohit Sharma, 11.Mujeeb Zadran

Stats and Facts:

  • Head-to-Head: Matches: 22, KKR 14, KXIP 7. At Eden Gardens, KKR have dominated, winning 7 of 9 matches, and KXIP have not won there since 2012.
  • Chris Lynn is striking at 155.1 v pace in IPL 2018, but just 77 v spin. Sunil Narine, on the other hand, strikes at 204.4 v spin in IPL cricket when he opens the batting.
  • Chris Gayle v Chawla: 103 runs scored off 57 balls. Against Narine? Just 40 runs in 45 balls.
  • The winner of this clash will be top of the table.

Prediction:

Eden Gardens represents a real challenge for KXIP but they are in irresistible form. So too are KKR, which makes for a great clash.
I really love what I’m seeing from KXIP though, and believe they have a little better balance in their side, led by the excellent R Aswhin. I expect KXIP’s batting to go well, and win this in a tight match.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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