After their embarrassing 69-run loss at the hands of the Sunrisers on Thursday, bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab will take on the high-flying Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Having lost each of their previous 4 matches, KXIP will have to play out of their skin to turn things around.
Kings XI Punjab - L L L L W
Kings XI Punjab have not had an iota for fortune all tournament, but whilst they’ve been unlucky and unfortunate, they’ve also been equally inept. The KL Rahul-led side have progressively gotten worse with every game and their previous encounter versus Sunrisers Hyderabad saw Punjab pull out their worst performance of the season yet, succumbing to a thumping 69-run defeat. With a myriad of problems to solve, Punjab, at this stage, will need a miracle to register a win.
Kolkata Knight Riders - W L W W L
Kolkata Knight Riders have been inconsistent, yes, but, unlike Punjab, they have been a team who have played with confidence and have outwitted their opponents. Having registered three wins in their first five matches, the two-time champions will have an opportunity to go third, on Saturday, and will be hoping to ride on their good run of form, which has seen them win 3 of their last 4 games. The Dinesh Karthik-led side pulled off a royal heist versus CSK in their last game, but one would imagine they, like SRH, would be hoping to make easy work of KXIP come Saturday.
Kings XI Punjab - Nicholas Pooran
One of the very few shining lights for Punjab this season, Nicholas Pooran has gotten better with every game and played a knock for the ages versus the Sunrisers on Thursday. In what was arguably the best onslaught of IPL 2020, Pooran smacked seven huge sixes en route a 37-ball 77 and gave SRH a scare of a lifetime. Someone who loves both pace and spin, Pooran will be licking his lips looking at the KKR bowling line-up and would be hoping to maybe even get that elusive ton, which he almost did versus SRH on Thursday. With scores of 25*, 44, 33 and 77 in his last 4 digs, the southpaw will enter the KKR encounter in red-hot form.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Rahul Tripathi
An out-and-out team man who can be an asset to the side regardless of the role he plays, Rahul Tripathi was given the stage to shine in KKR’s previous encounter versus CSK and he took the opportunity with both hands. Coming on the back of a 16-ball 36 versus Delhi in Sharjah, Tripathi, this time opening the batting, struck an immaculate 81 which turned out to be the difference between KKR and CSK on the night. With KXIP’s bowlers having conceded 150-run partnerships for the first wicket in each of their last two games, Tripathi would be hoping to cash in on what looks like a golden opportunity for him to fix his spot as an opener in the KKR XI.
Kings XI Punjab - Ravi Bishnoi
KXIP lost the SRH encounter by 69 runs, but the margin would have been double had it not been for some Bishnoi magic. With SRH cruising at 160/0 after 15 overs, Bishnoi, who had conceded 18 runs off his first over, produced a comeback for the ages and finished with exceptional figures of 3/29. A youngster with impeccable mettle, Bishnoi backed himself to outwit the SRH batters and his confidence helped restrict David Warner’s side to 201 when it so easily could have been 231. Despite having only taken 7 wickets all season, Bishnoi has, by some distance, been Punjab’s more consistent and reliable bowler and the 20-year-old will once again hold the key if the Kings are to make inroads on Saturday.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Varun Chakravarthy
After making the headlines for the wrong reasons last season, Varun Chakravarthy, this season, has been a revelation and has provided the cutting edge for a KKR spin attack that looked down on confidence. After starring in each of his first two games - versus SRH and RR - Varun saved his best for the CSK game, and his exceptional spell of 1/28 helped KKR strangle a conservative CSK side that had no clarity over their own approach. On Saturday, Varun CV will have the golden opportunity to take revenge on his old side, KXIP, who did not show the same faith his new management and skipper have shown in him.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
When to Watch: Oct 10, 3.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)