Upbeat after their respective wins in their last matches, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Kings XI Punjab will clash on a promising encounter today afternoon. While the Knights have been victorious on the last two matches against Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rajasthan Royals, the Kings have been fortunate ti win against Pune Warriors India. Both the franchisees, owned by Bollywood superstars, had started their season on a losing note. It would be handy to mention here that Punjab have played a match less than Kolkata. However, today’s meeting isn’t one where the teams are evenly matched. The Kolkata-based franchisee , boasting of big names, definitely has an edge over the less-fancied but no less glamorous Punjab outfit. But T20 is too unpredictable and above all predictions, so you never know whose day it is until the end.
Both the teams have met seven times with KKR winning four and KXIP riding home thrice. So it’s quite even-steven according to the statistics.
Players to watch out for
Kolkata Knight Riders
Shakib-al-Hasan : The ICC No. 1 all-rounder is in ominous form which is evident from his last match where he picked up four crucial wickets and also played a short yet useful cameo with the bat. The Eden wicket perfectly suits him and the subcontinental conditions make him all the more dangerous. He is surely the Tiger from Bangladesh that oppositions must look out for.
Manvinder Bisla : The last couple of matches have been a revelation for him. Replacing the famous Brendon McCullum in the line-up, he had a huge responsibility on his shoulders. He made good use of his chances scoring some quick-fire runs in the top order. He is decent with the gloves and that certainly, earns him a nod ahead of McCullum.
Jacques Kallis : May be T20 is all about youth and agility, but there is also a place for experience and knowledge. Kallis, one of the most prolific overseas run-getters in the subcontinent, comes with a vast range of experience and good technique. The young batsmen will surely love to learn a few things from him and watch him play his elegant strokes in KKR’s matches.
Kings XI Punjab
Dmitri Mascharenhas : It will take some time before the Pune outfit forget the nightmares he gave them a couple of days back. A five-wicket haul in a T20 match where you have the luxury of only four overs is, by no means, less than a Herculean job. Confident after his excellent show at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Mascharenhas will look to unsettle the much fancied Kolkata batting line-up.
David Hussey : Once a Knight, and now a King. Once a crowd favorite at Eden Gardens, Hussey will look to settle a few things at his former home-ground against his former owners. No one has forgotten his brilliant catch at the boundary line a few seasons back, and the Kings will have huge expectations from him today. Always a smiling face on the field, Hussey will be itching to take the smiles away from the face of Calcuttans.
Shaun Marsh : After back-to-back disappointing periods for the Australian, he struck to form in the last match against Pune Warriors where he played a beautiful role in scripting a victory for his side. He scores at a good strike-rate and the Knights Riders need to pick up his wicket before he can do the damage.
If everything goes according to the expectations and the teams play according to their strangths, it must be a good win for Shah Rukh Khan’s boys who will be boosted by the presence of the Bollywood hero in front of the passionate Eden crowd.
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