IPL 2019: Can KKR keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over KXIP?
Kings XI Punjab will be returning home for their last two league stage encounters of IPL 2019. They will be eager to keep themselves alive in the tournament when they host the Kolkata Knight Riders at the IS Bindra Stadium today.
This is practically an elimination match, with both teams firmly lodged in the bottom half of the points table. They both come into the encounter on the back of similar stories too.
The Kings XI have been hopeless travelers and have lost 5 of their last 6 games. Still, they won't be underdogs going into the game because Kolkata Knight Riders have lost 6 out of their last 7 matches.
That said, KKR have a 16-8 advantage in the head-to-head record between the two teams. The visitors will be gunning to put up a strong show against the team that they have always dominated.
Probable XI – Kings XI Punjab
Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen.
Players on the bench: Sarfaraz Khan, Sam Curran, Karun Nair, Prab Simran Singh, Moises Henriques, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Varun Chakravarthy, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Andrew Tye
Probable XI – Kolkata Knight Riders
Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Harry Gurney, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier
Players on the bench: Robin Uthappa, Lockie Ferguson, Nikhil Naik, Kuldeep Yadav, KC Cariappa, Carlos Brathwaite, Shrikant Mundhe, Rinku Singh, Yarra Prithviraj, Matthew Kelly
Key players to watch out for
The one man holding the aces for Kolkata Knight Riders this season is Andre Russell, who has produced a terrific all-round show. The only consistent batsman for the KKR so far, Russell has scored 486 runs from 12 games at a strike rate of over 200.
For Kings XI Punjab, the player in focus definitely has to be KL Rahul. With over 500 runs this season from 12 games, Rahul is enjoying a serious purple patch. Punjab will be hoping that he fires again and helps them cross the line tonight.
Mohali has been a happy hunting ground for Kolkata Knight Riders. With an eye on the fourth place in the points table, they will be looking to put their best foot forward and keep the playoff puzzle alive till the last game of the season, where they play the Mumbai Indians.
Keeping in mind their firepower and their record against KXIP, KKR should be considered favorites in this match.
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