Five losses in six games, nothing seems to be going Kings XI Punjab’s way. Right from the first game when the lost the Super Over contest to Delhi Capitals, things have been bumpy, to say the least for KXIP in this IPL. With time running out faster than anyone could imagine, they face Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi in the first match of the double-header on Saturday.
KXIP captain KL Rahul hit the nail on the head when he said “When our batters hit, everything went to the fielders,” after their loss against SRH. But at the same time he agreed that his side knows about the mistakes they are committing and will look to bounce back. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)
It will not be an easy task to stand up to the challenge thrown by an all-round KKR team, which is a fine blend of youth and experience.
Notwithstanding a couple of reverses, KKR are gradually emerging as a strong contender for a third IPL title, with many of their players striking form as the tournament approaches the half-way stage.
Shubman Gill has already created an impression as an opener and now KKR have found another option at the top in Rahul Tripathi, who will enter the game with some confidence after his swashbuckling innings of 81 against Chennai Super Kings two days ago.
The experienced Eoin Morgan is a huge presence in the middle-order which also has Nitish Rana, always on the lookout to impress the team management with his performances with the bat.
And then there is Andre Russell, who has not set the tournament ablaze in the manner in which he is expected to.
The biggest cause of concern for KKR is the form of their captain Dinesh Karthik, who is yet to contribute anything substantial with the bat.
And though he came in to bat at number seven in the last game with not many overs remaining, Karthik has also failed to perform while batting at the number three position at the start of the tournament.
In pace bowling, they have the young duo of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, besides the seasoned world number one Pat Cummins.
While in spin, Narine has Varun Chakravarthy for company, and the player from Tamil Nadu will be high on confidence after bowling out Mahendra Singh Dhoni in their last match.
Kings XI Punjab will again rely on their trusted opening pair of captain KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
If Chris Gayle recovers from his food poisoning, he will make his first appearance in the ongoing IPL and that will be a huge boost for KXIP.
The mis-firing Glenn Maxwell is likely to make way for Gayle. Nicholas Pooran’s exploits with the bat is a positive for KXIP and he will again look to play his shots freely. Death bowling is a major concern for KXIP and they would need to get it right against a strong KKR batting line-up.
(With PTI inputs)