The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) got back to winning ways on Thursday owing to some masterstrokes from their captain Gautam Gambhir. The tie against Kings XI was a crucial one and therefore Gambhir chose to field after winning the toss. The visitors got off to a flyer but then regular wickets curtailed the run-flow in the middle overs.
Umesh Yadav picked up three in an over and Kings XI who looked at one stage they will easily surpass 200 were restricted to just 170.
Gambhir surprised everyone by asking spinner Sunil Narine to open the innings alongside him and he did not disappoint either as he smashed an 18-ball 37. Robin Uthappa contributed with a delightful 26 and then Gambhir and Manish Pandey took the hosts home with eight wickets and 21 balls to spare.
It is unlikely that Gambhir will tinker with the winning combination when they meet defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at home on Saturday.
Here’s the predicted playing XI for Kolkata Knight Riders:
He has been at the top of his game this season and scored a dazzling unbeaten 72 against the Kings XI the other day to take his side home. He will be oozing with confidence and gearing up for another such knock against Hyderabad.
With Chris Lynn not playing, there’s more responsibility on his shoulders and trust him to deliver when the going gets tough. For Sunrisers he will be the most prized wicket for sure.
Even though Narine opened the innings with his captain in the last game, he is unlikely to do the same again. Uthappa looked in real good touch against Kings XI and it looks like he would finally get to bat alongside Gambhir as an opener for the men in purple.
The Karnataka batsman hasn’t been in the best of form in domestic cricket but he would want to use this opportunity he is getting to score some big runs. He has been quite successful as an opener and there’s no reason why he cannot repeat the feats again.
He has always been the Knight in the shining armour for KKR. Whenever his team has needed him he has stood up and delivered. Against the Kings XI too he made sure he took his side home by scoring a brisk 25. Prior to that he had played a gem of an innings against the Mumbai Indians but ended up on the losing side.
Pathan usually contributes to the KKR score by scoring a quickfire 30 or 40. But on his day he can be devastating. He has done it before and especially after missing out against the Mumbai Indians and not getting to bat against Kings XI he would like to contribute with a big score against the Sunrisers.
The former Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain is quite a sight when he is in full flow. He can smash it all around the park with a little bit of innovation combined with brute force. He scored 17 against the Mumbai Indians before holding out to Pollard in the deep trying to club Malinga into the stands. Against Kings XI he did not get a chance to bat but he will look to get his way back into form against Sunrisers.
The England all-rounder has finally joined the party after picking up two wickets in the last game. KKR shed a lot of moolah to rope in Woakes and he would ideally want to come good for his side again on Saturday with the ball and then if needed with the bat.
Colin de Grandhomme
The New Zealand all-rounder made his debut in the last game and picked up the wicket of Hashim Amla giving away 15 from his two overs. If he does get a game in again ahead of Shakib Al Hasan he has to deliver something special.
After picking up 1/19 against the Kings XI, the West Indies mystery spinner opened the innings for KKR and smashed his way to 37 off just 18 balls which helped them get off on a canter. Though he hasn’t been at his lethal best this season he is slowly inching towards it.
After enjoying a brilliant season at home with the Indian Test team and then a much-needed break speedster was back doing what he does best, taking wickets. He picked up figures of 4/33 from his four overs and Gambhir once again will look up to him to get KKR some early breakthroughs. With the kind of form, he is in that won’t be very difficult.
The New Zealander hasn’t quite enjoyed success yet for his new franchise. He has been good but unlucky at times. But on an Eden track which is expected to offer some pace and bounce Boult can surely be a ‘bolt from the blue’ for the Sunrisers if he gets into his rhythm from the outset.
The legspinner was not quite at his best against the Kings XI, but he has a knack of picking crucial wickets. Gambhir in all probability will select him ahead of Kuldeep Yadav against the Sunrisers too.