When you take things for granted, the things you are granted, get taken. Kolkata Knight Riders would be looking to erase the last match drubbing by David Warner from their systems and move confidently ahead as has been the case with them this season so far. With the top four sides clearly distinguishing themselves from the rest, the race for the top two teams is definitely on. Mumbai Indians have already cemented their place in playoffs and KKR would love to do the same when they face resurgent Pune at their fortress Eden Gardens. Here are the Match Preview and Predictions as KKR take on the Rising Pune Supergiant.
Sometimes the harder you fall, the stronger you rise. Rising Pune Supergiants have handsomely justified their name, as they have now won five out of the last six matches after three consecutive defeats. They are currently at fourth position in the standings and a win here would propel them to number 3. Ben Stokes hit an authoritative ton two nights before to thwart Gujarart Lions plans.
The unwanted moolah about the costliest acquisition and the resulting continuous scrutiny was all put to rest as the Big Ben played a magnificient knock to take Pune over the line single handedly. This close victory would have given them a lot of confidence and they’ll need evey inch of it against the consistent KKR.
The pitch here at the iconic Eden Gardens has a covering of grass on it and thus pacers would expect some movement off the wicket. Dew is another factor that is going to favour the side batting second.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
With the wicket expected to be seam friendly, the pace attack would be raring to bounce back here. Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme would be testing the Pune batsmen with their pace and bounce. Kuldeep Yadav is really growing with every match and Sunil Narine has provided him support from the other end. Robin Uthappa is in the form of his life and no total is too big for KKR now as long as he is on the crease. Gautam Gambhir’s aggressive captaincy coupled with their amazing record at home and KKR are the favourites to win this match
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KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – WEAKNESSES
KKR management should not get too ruffled with the last match outcome as no bowler could do much when Warner gets going. The lower middle order was not able to sustain the pressure of a big chase and they gave in easily after Uthappa departed in the previous game. They need to get back to winning ways to avoid losing the momentum.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS – STRENGTHS
Ben Stokes celebrated his comeback after injury in a grand fashion. Everything in his arc was taken to cleaners as he timed a tough chase beautifully even after Dhoni departed. He now has three Man of the Match awards in his kitty, two for his bowling performances and one for the scintillating century. Imran Tahir has really led the bowling attack of Pune with authority jolting the opposition consistently. Jaydev Unadkat has contributed fairly well with the ball and so has Dan Christian and Ben Stokes. Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur have been economical.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS – WEAKNESSES
The indifferent form of Ajinkya Rahane is a concern for RPS. Rahul Tripathi has shown promise upfront but need to stay longer at the crease. Steve Smith and Dhoni are expected to contribute more. The fifth bowler dilemma may haunt them against the strong batting line up of KKR.
KKR – Despite the loss to SRH, KKR should stick with the playing XI. Shakib Al Hasan may get a game here in place of Colin de Grandhomme.
Gautam Gambhir (capt), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav
RPS – RPS are likely to stick with the same playing XI that won them the game against Gujarat Lions.
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (capt), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk), Ben Stokes, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 3, KKR – 3, RPS – 0
Earlier this season in Pune, KKR chased down RPS total of 183 riding on Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa’s half centuries.
With the race for top two finish heating up, this is going to be a clash for the glory. Here’s what we predict.
If KKR bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
RPS wins by 5 wickets
If RPS bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
KKR wins by 5 wickets.