RPS has been the comeback story of IPL 2017 with three successive wins on trot after three losses. With the match being played at their home ground, it is a wonderful chance for them to defeat the heavyweights KKR. They are currently at number 4 in the points table with eight points. A win here would go a long way in helping them inch to that magical number 16. Match Preview and Predictions as the Rising Pune Super Giants take on the Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR are coming off a stupendous win against RCB where they bundled out one of the strongest batting line up for a paltry 49. They are comfortably placed at second position in the standings and would like to carry on the good work.
The MCA stadium has seen some high scoring encounters with the home side successfully chasing down 170+ scores twice here. Spinners have been able to perform better here in comparison to their pace counterparts. So this match is expected to be a high scoring encounter with batsmen going all guns blazing.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS – STRENGTHS
Rahul Tripathi has been the man in form since the time he has taken the field. He has taken the attack to the pacers fearlessly and the pressure off Ajinkya Rahane. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is back in form and could be dangerous in the death overs especially if RPS get to chase. Manoj Tiwary is in stupendous form and has grabbed whatever few opportunities he has been offered.
Their bowling looks settled now with two good spinners in their ranks – Imran Tahir and Washington Sundar (his name seems to be symbolic of India-US relations). Ben Stokes has been phenomenal with the ball and Jaydev Unadkat also showed good confidence in the last over against Mumbai in previous match.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS – WEAKNESSES
Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane haven’t justified their calibre despite getting some good starts. Ben Stokes has also not fired with the bat. The fifth bowler problem could still haunt them despite Dan Christian and Shardul Thakur.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
KKR strategy of using Narine to get them off to an explosive start has paid off well. The Carribean has scored 76 runs off 34 balls in the last 2 matches. KKR batsmen have piled on runs consistently. Their pace battery has been the talk of the season. KKR pacers have taken 34 wickets this IPL and their performance in the middle overs is splendid. Kuldeep Yadav has taken the wickets at crucial junctures. Gautam Gambhir has been impressive as a Captain and has set some attacking fields.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – WEAKNESSES
The form of Sunil Narine with the ball is still a concern for them. The Man of the Match in the last game against RCB, Coulter-Nile’s absence in this match can be a worrying factor for them. KKR batsman would be low in confidence owing to their performance in the last match where they managed just 131.
RPS – With 3 wins on trot, Pune would like to continue with their winning combination from the last match.
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (capt), Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni (wk), Manoj Tiwary, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Jaydev Unadkat
KKR – Nathan Coulter-Nile has been rested for this game and thus either Shakib Al Hasan or Trent Boult can make a return in the playing XI.
Gautam Gambhir (capt), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Kuldeep Yadav
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played 2, RPS – 0, KKR – 2
With both teams coming off wins, this promises to be a mouth watering contest. 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 – 160 – 170
KKR wins by 6 wickets