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Upbeat KKR look to halt KXIP’s surge

Kolkata Knight Riders gear up for another crucial fight as they travel to Sharjah to take on Kings XI Punjab on Monday. The teams are separated by two points, with KKR occupying the 4th slot and KXIP the 5th, in the points table of the Dream XI IPL 2020 at this moment.

Eoin Morgan and his boys will be extremely confident going into the match after a massive win against Delhi Capitals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana orchestrated the victory with the bat. While Narine made a stunning comeback with a brisk 32-ball 64 at NO. 5, Rana made a strong statement with a timely 53-ball 81 in the opening slot.

“We felt Nitish was in good form but maybe a little lighter on the runs but he proved what we were thinking was on the right lines. When Sunil Narine came to the crease, he sets things up beautifully and I think that worked for Nitish as well. Watching both of them play with the freedom that they did was outstanding,” Morgan reflected on the duo’s 115-run partnership against DC.

On the bowling front, Pat Cummins looked to be getting into his lethal best. Lockie Ferguson continued to impress as well. However, it was our mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who stole the limelight with a stunning fifer. Varun will be facing his former team KXIP for the second time and it will be interesting to see how he deals with the likes of KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell in the shorter boundaries of Sharjah.

The last time, the two teams met together KXIP came eerily close to a win, before losing the match by 2 runs. In fact, they let themselves off the hook from a winning situation and succumbed to some superlative death bowling from Narine and Prasidh Krishna. KXIP, however, have been on a surge ever since with four consecutive wins. Their bowling unit seemed to be on a hunt against SRH as Chris Jordan and the young Arshdeep Singh turned the tables on David Warner’s team in the final 3 overs to defend a lowly 127-run target.

Arshdeep, in particular, created a lot of trouble for our top order in the first leg with some early swing. With the likes of Md Shami joining him from the other end, the KKR top order will need to be extremely cautious while facing the new ball. So far, batting first has worked out pretty well for KKR and if Morgan wins the toss, we may expect the Knights to set a total first yet again.

In the overall head-to-head with KXIP, KKR have won 18 out of 26 matches. On top of that, KKR have won all their last five encounters against KXIP at neutral venues. With our bowlers firing all cylinders, KKR will look to provide ample support to them with some meticulous batting and improve on the overall coherence as the battle for the play-offs gets intense.

Kolkata Knight Riders take on Kings XI Punjab at 7.30PM IST in Sharjah on Monday. Stay tuned on our social pages for the latest updates. Korbo, lorbo, jeetbo!