Match. No 41 will see two teams from the top four clash against each other in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will lock horns against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Wednesday evening. Kolkata Knight Riders have in last few games lost their form while Rising Pune Supergiant have gained momentum after a string of narrow wins. Thankfully for Kolkata Knight Riders the match will be played at their home where Rising Pune Supergiant are yet to win a game. Full cricket scorecard: KKR vs RPS, Match 41
Their head-to-head tally stands in favour of Kolkata Knight Riders where they have beaten Rising Pune Supergiant 3 times out of 3. The last time these sides clashed was in Match No.30 where Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Rising Pune Supergiant by 7 wickets; thanks to fifties from Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa.
Kolkata Knight Riders were taken to the cleaners by David Warner who struck a 59-ball 126. Chasing a mammoth 210 to win, Kolkata Knight Riders lost wicket in bunches that let to their fall. It is high time that the experiment with Sunil Narine opening the innings ends and once again have Gambhir-Uthappa back were they belong. Constant tinkering has also lead to loss of form for Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Colin de Grandhomme.
Their bowling as a unit has been impeccable with minor lapses in the last few games. Form of Chris Woakes, who is their death over specialist, is a big concern. Also Sunil Narine unable to pick up wickets has added more pressure on other bowlers like Kuldeep Yadav and Yusuf Pathan.
Alone Umesh Yadav and Nathan Coulter-Nile are failing to restrict opponents to smaller totals. With a spot in the playoffs in sight, Kolkata Knight Riders would not want to tinker too much.
Likely XI: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav
Rising Pune Supergiant, on the other hand, have been rising from a long sleep and now look to take the IPL by storm. Their recent performances have all been splendid and mostly attributed to individual laurels. Ben Stokes in the match against Gujarat Lions slammed a 63-ball unbeaten 103 that helped his side come out of a ditch.
Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi have so far been consistent with a small blip in the last tie. Form of Steven Smith has blown cold too many times for RPS’ liking. Manoj Tiwary has been their most dependable middle order batsman. Stokes’ availability will be a big concern after he was seen cramping in the middle.
MS Dhoni’s uncharacteristic knock against Gujarat Lions proves that he is in good form and can play according to the conditions. Dan Christian will be an important player for Rising Pune Supergiant when it comes to power hitting. His bowling as well has come in handy a few times.
Jaydev Unadkat has been Rising Pune Supergiant’s go to bowler so far with him sharing responsibilities with the old and new ball.
Stokes, Imran Tahir and Shardul Thakur have been stars with the ball. Tahir, in particular, is at No.2 spot in leading wicket-takers’ list in IPL 10 so far. It will be important that Rising Pune Supergiant start winning their away games now that IPL is heading into its business end.
Likely XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (c), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk), Ben Stokes, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir