IPL 2019, Match 52, KXIP vs KKR: Who will be the trump card in tonight's game?
It was a cliff-hanger at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday night as the Mumbai Indians defeated the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a thrilling super over. MI are the only team to have defeated the Chennai Super Kings and SRH twice in this tournament. MI's win yesterday make them the third team to make it to the playoffs.
The battle for the fourth and final spot for the playoffs is between SRH, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Kings XI Punjab. With a better net run rate, SRH are most likely to make it to the playoffs. The sheer inconsistency of the performances of the two teams facing off tonight makes it hard for them to qualify.
Both KKR and KXIP had strong, positive starts to their IPL 2019 campaigns. A sloppy chase against CSK at the Chepauk started a slump for Ravichandran Ashwin's men, while KKR only have themselves to blame for enduring six consecutive defeats.
Andre Russell playing so few balls was among the most talked about points when KKR were losing. The maverick all-rounder in an explosive interview voiced out his opinion on the unhealthiness in the dressing room and he also questioned the leadership and some of the decisions made.
And as an answer to that, KKR promoted him to the #3 spot against MI and he backed his words with an explosive knock of 80 runs. That makes Andre Russell the Trump-Card in tonight's game. His importance to KKR having a chance to make it to the playoffs can't be stressed enough.
For KKR to make the cut, they must win their remaining two games and win them with big margins to improve their NRR.
Having scored 486 runs in 12 matches at an outstanding strike rate of 209.64, with 27 fours and 50 sixes, Russell is in the form of his life. Only Hardik Pandya has come close to replicating Russell's hitting prowess this IPL.
And he is right up there as far the MVP standings goes as he has also bagged 10 wickets this season. He certainly is a better bowler than the records suggest but he has helped a sagging KKR bowling attack time and again. And to add to his ferocious batting and effective bowling, he is a pretty safe fielder too.
A complete package who can change the course of any game, KKR would hope he can turn their fortunes around. With six defeats in a row hampering their campaign, they would need Russell to literally bat out KXIP from the contest.
Can he dominate a fragile KXIP bowling attack and be the trump card for KKR once again tonight?
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