Preview: In-form KKR & KXIP all set to lock horns in Saturday blockbuster

At the back of two wins in a row, especially after defeating Rajasthan Royals in their own backyard for the first time in 10 matches, Kolkata Knight Riders will face a much-different Kings XI Punjab at Eden Gardens tomorrow at 4 pm. While our Knights are all pumped up with confidence, KXIP might just have an upper hand as they are at the home of Knights after beating Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the two teams we’ve lost so far in VIVO IPL 2018. But things can change quickly in T20 cricket.

What’s happening at the Knights camp?
Besides the celebration after two convincing wins, our Knights will look to keep the records straight against the visitors (W-L: 14-7). We have big names in our unit but all the matches we have won, it was a perfect team effort that has helped us cross the finishing line. Our Head coach, Jacques Kallis reiterated the same after our win over Royals.
KKR will look to stick to the winning combination from the last match. Shivam Mavi with his lethal pace will stay our 1st choice fast bowler and will look to be among more wickets. Our Spin Trio has given Skipper Dinesh Karthik the option to bowl spin in the Powerplay. Nitish Rana has stepped up for the team with the bat and bowl, he looks set for another good show.

Christopher Henry Gayle & KXIP
He was ignored on the first day of the IPL auctions 2018! Almost went unsold! But thanks to Virender Sehwag, who knew what it’s like to have Chris Gayle on your side, than bowling at him. The Jamaican has scored the first century (104*) of VIVO IPL 2018 against a better bowling unit in Sunrisers Hyderabad. His unbeaten knock against SRH which bettered his previous innings (63) against Chennai Super Kings is something that might be a concern for us.

We all love to watch him score, but tomorrow if he plays we expect to send him back to the pavilion as soon as we can. KL Rahul has got good starts to support Gayle at the top with the middle-order chipping in. 17-year old, Mujeeb Ur Rahman has already got into the limelight with his impressive variations, even under pressure. 

Kolkata Knight Riders do have an upper hand over the Ravichandran Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab. Not just with their overall record (W-L: 14-7), or when they’ve played at Eden Gardens (W-L: 7-2), our Knights also have their nose ahead of the visitors in terms of the individual player battle. 

Sunil Narine has dismissed the explosive Jamaican, Chris Gayle, twice in five meetings in IPL, while the batsman also has a below standard strike-rate of 89.0 against the off-spinner. KL Rahul who holds the fastest half-century in IPL has been silenced by our leggie, Piyush Chawla in two IPL matches that they have played against each other, dismissing Rahul on both occasions.

Head to Head
Overall: Matches - 21
Won by Kolkata Knight Riders - 14
Won by Kings XI Punjab - 7

Last 5 games:
Won by KKR - 4
Won by KXIP - 1

The last encounter between the two sides ended in a close finish, KXIP beat KKR by 14 runs at Mohali despite an excellent 84-run knock from Chris Lynn. 

Match Details:
21 April 2018, 16:00 Hrs (IST), Eden Gardens, Kolkata.