Kolkata Knight Riders learned a lesson from their defeat against Delhi Capitals. They stopped messing up with their batting lineup and sent Rahul Tripathi to open the batting. And the move paid off straight away as the dashing opener scored a match-winning fifty against Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi. Kolkata’s batting arsenal is filled with match-winners but sending them down the wrong position brought a lot of criticism for the team management. With runs on the board, their bowlers bowled with their tail up and rescued the team in a 10-run win over CSK. KKR will play Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi in Saturday’s first match and any changes in the playing XI is highly unlikely.
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Here is a look at the KKR Predicted XI against KXIP:
Shubman Gill: Shubhman Gill is the only batsman in the KKR team, who has played every game at the same batting position. He is in good form but managed just 163 runs in five games, including a 70-run knock against Hyderabad. He will be eyeing to make amends from the last games and come good against Punjab.
Rahul Tripathi: After batting as low as 8th against Delhi, Rahul Tripathi was sent to open the batting versus Chennai. He scored a match-winning 81 runs in that game and cemented his place at that position. KKR team management will want a similar innings from him against Punjab.
Nitish Rana: He has been inconsistent with the bat so far in the tournament. Nitish Rana is getting good starts in every game but only once he managed to convert it into a fifty against Delhi. He comes to bat at the number three and the time has come for him to act upon that and start scoring runs.
Eoin Morgan: The England skipper has looked solid so far in IPL 2020 but he is getting less time to spend in the middle. Kolkata needs to send their best batsman to the fourth number in order to get the best out of him. He can pace his innings well and when on song, Morgan can turn the match on its head.
Andre Russell: Probably the biggest match-winner in the KKR team. Andre Russell was on the beast mode in the IPL 2019 but has failed to live up to the expectations this year. Despite looking good in few games with both bat and ball, he failed to give his team the cutting edge against others. No one can say when he will arrive, but whenever he does, he will go bonkers.
Dinesh Karthik (c & wk): The KKR skipper is said to be the weak link in their batting lineup. DK hasn’t played a single noticeable innings so far in the league. The time has come for him to lead his team from the front or else his place in the XI will be jeopardized.
Sunil Narine: The West Indian spinner finally found his bowling rhythm against Chennai Super Kings, where he conceded just 31 runs in four overs despite coming to bowl after 12 overs. Also, he dismissed well set Shane Watson, which allowed Kolkata to come back in the game. Narine is high on confidence and Punjab has to watch out for him.
Pat Cummins: Australian spearhead is in decent form in the IPL 2020. Despite not taking too many wickets, he successfully managed to content batsmen from scoring freely in the powerplay. Against Chennai, when his other teammates were going for runs, he conceded just 25 runs in his four overs without taking a wicket.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti: The young Indian pacer is bowling well. Nagarkoti made his IPL debut this year and featured in four games and managed as many wickets. He can trouble batsmen with his raw pace and Punjab can’t take him lightly.
Shivam Mavi: The most promising bowler of KKR in the ongoing season of IPL. Shivam Mavi can bowl in the powerplay as well as at the death overs. He has complimented Pat Cummins well so far in the season. If KKR needs to strop Punjab, Mavi has to fire with the ball.
Varun Chakravarthy: The wicket of MS Dhoni has put Varun Chakravarthy on the seventh sky. He bowled an economical spell against Chennai and conceded just 28 runs for one wicket. If he gets assistance from the Abu Dhabi pitch, he can spin a web around Punjab batsmen.
KKR Predicted XI against KXIP: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy