Rising Pune Supergiant will host Kolkata Knight Riders tonight with both teams coming off impressive victories. While Pune beat Mumbai Indians for the second time in the Maharashtra derby, Kolkata blew away Royal Challengers Bangalore for 49 – the lowest score in the competition’s 10-year history.
With the cross-breeze being a crucial factor in Pune, seamers are expected to have a major role to play but the battle between spin aces Imran Tahir and Sunil Narine will make for fascinating viewing.
Head to head:
KKR lead 2-0.
In what was a thriller in Pune, Ajinkya Rahane scored 67 to guide the hosts to 160 for 5 before Suryakumar Yadav scored 60 to give KKR a two-wicket win with three balls to spare.
As part of the preview, we bring to you fan predictions for the talking points of the ame. The predictions are sourced from the newest fantasy game on the block – Nostragamus. If you want to make your predictions and win prizes, click here.
Who will win?
KKR holds a 2-0 advantage in the 2 matches they played against each other in the IPL. RPS, who initially struggled to find form, have now won 3 matches in a row and have also won 2 of their last 3 matches at home. KKR have been one of the finest teams in this IPL season, losing just 2 games overall with a solid bowling and brilliant batting attack. Both teams have the momentum on their side, but the motivation seems to be on the side of RPS who bounced back brilliantly from a string of losses. RPS have also developed the habit of beating title favourites of late, having beaten SRH once and MI twice. Hence, we predict that RPS will win this closely fought battle.
Fans verdict: A close one, as 48% call RPS to pull off another “upset”
Which captain will score more runs?
A. Smith B. Gambhir
In IPL 2017, Smith has scored 224 runs at an avg. of 44.8 whereas Gambhir has scored 243 runs at an avg. of 48.6. However, in the 2 games, KKR and RPS have faced each other Smith averages 31 and Gambhir averages 5.5. But considering their recent forms, both are in for a big score as their scores in the previous games have been below par considering their calibre. Gambhir opens the innings and will bat more in the powerplay when compared to Smith as both Rahane and Tripathi usually play the most of the powerplay. Hence, we predict Gambhir will score more among the 2 captains.
Fans verdict: An even split, as exactly 50% think Gambhir will outdo his rival
Predicted Playing XI:
Rising Pune Supergiant: Likely to go in with the same XI that played the previous two games.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shakib-al-Hasan may replace Nathan Coulter-Nile, the man of the match in their previous game who has been advised four days of rest.
We need to start off really well tomorrow. Whatever has happened, it's in the past. This is the second half of the competition and you want to obviously play the second half as well as you can. We've finished out first half in a decent position, but what matters is what we do hereafter and it starts with tomorrow. We still have seven games to go before the playoffs. - Gautam Gambhir, KKR captain
Ben Stokes (RPS): Was adjudged man of the match twice for his bowling performance and will hold the key, especially with the breeze being a factor in western India this time of the year.
Colin de Grandhomme (KKR): In the absence of Coulter-Nile, the Kiwi all-rounder needs to up his game if they are to stop Pune.
Time: 8 PM
Venue: MCA Stadium, Pune
TV Listings: Sony Six HD, Sony Six, Set Max, Sony ESPN
Ravi Rampaul or Shane Shillingford? Who will take more wickets?
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