The first week of IPL 2017 has already seen a lot of nail biting encounters and fans have been treated to the best cricketing action from players all over the world. While the first match of the season between the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and last year’s finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore might not have lived up to its billings, the following matches sure made up for it in terms of entertainment.
The Kings XI Punjab have turned over a new leaf after finishing at the bottom of the table for the past two years. A change in captaincy has changed their fortunes as well as they won the first two games of the season against the Rising Pune Supergiant and Royal Challengers Bangalore quite comfortably.
While they defeated Pune by 6 wickets with 6 balls remaining, they thrashed RCB by 8 wickets with 33 balls to spare. Glenn Maxwell who took over the captaincy from David Miller has been in inspired form with 87 runs in 2 games at a phenomenal strike rate of 207.20, and he is yet to be dismissed.
Extra Cover: IPL 2017, Team of the week: April 5th-9th
The Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, have had a mixed start to their campaign. After demolishing the Gujarat Lions in the first match by 10 wickets, they lost out in an extremely tight contest to the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.
They were also dealt a body blow when star batsman Chris Lynn was injured in the 2nd match and is most likely to miss the rest of the tournament. However, they will be playing their first home game at the Eden Gardens and that will benefit them for sure.
Date: April 13th
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Time: 20:00 IST
If KKR bat first
With Chris Lynn out injured, we would most likely see Shakib Al Hasan make his 2017 debut for KKR. We will also most likely see Robin Uthappa open the innings along with Gautam Gambhir.
Over the past few years, we have not seen as many high scoring encounters at the Eden Gardens as we have seen on other grounds, hence we can expect a score of 150+ if the KKR batsmen perform well.
Manish Pandey was spectacular in the last match and he will be looking to carry his form into the next game as well. On the other hand, the rest of the middle order has looked quite fragile and need to step up.
If KXIP bat first
Glenn Maxwell and Hashim Amla have been the standout batsmen for KXIP so far and will be looking to continue their run scoring. However, Manan Vohra has looked out of sorts in the two matches that he has played and will need to step up in order to keep his place in the side.
With the strength of KKR’s bowling line-up, we would also most likely see Punjab’s lower middle order be put to test. David Miller who performed well in the first match will be raring to go, and fans might finally be able to witness Marcus Stoinis batting for the side.
Predicted winners: KKR are most likely to come out on top due to the home advantage and their strong bowling line-up.