KKR vs PBKS Preview: Knight Riders look to get back to winning ways as Kings look for bowling upturn
It was a case of so near yet so far for Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday night as they nearly defended their total of 128 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
But they are back at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday, the premise for their convincing victory against the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings, on the opening night, to take on Punjab Kings.
The Kings had a rollicking start to their campaign on Sunday. After conceding 205 in 20 overs picking up only two wickets, they comfortably chased down the target with an over to spare. Nearly 61 per cent of the runs came in boundaries - 11 boundaries and 14 sixes.
The top order comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal and Bhanuka Rajapaksa scored majority of the runs with Odean Smith providing the fireworks at the death.
There isn't much that separates the attacking approach of the two sides on the field. The Knight Riders may have been bowled out for a low score but, according to head coach Brendon McCullum, there was no lack of intent as they regularly sought to find the boundaries, with the batters perishing in the process.
Andre Russell struck three sixes and Umesh Yadav hit a handy 18 to ensure the bowlers had something to bowl at and when they did, they did a fine job. Yadav is one wicket away from 50 powerplay wickets in the IPL and Tim Southee, who bagged his best figures in the league with 3-20 on Wednesday, is just two wickets away from 250 T20 wickets.
Sunil Narine has been the side's most prolific bowler against Punjab with 31 wickets and Friday's game could see him be the most successful bowler against any opposition in terms of wickets.
Punjab Kings will be looking to continue their winning momentum with Kagiso Rabada available while the Knight Riders will be keen to bounce back from their loss.
KKR: Shreyas Iyer (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rinku Singh, Aaron Finch, Abhijeet Tomar, Ramesh Kumar, Pratham Singh, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson, Baba Indrajith, Pat Cummins, Mohammad Nabi, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi, Anukul Roy, Chamika Karunaratne, Aman Khan, Andre Russell, Venkatesh Iyer, Umesh Yadav, Rasikh Salam, Tim Southee, Ashok Sharma, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy.
PBKS: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Jonny Bairstow, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Shahrukh Khan, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Porel, Liam Livingstone, Odean Smith, Sandeep Sharma, Raj Angad Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Prerak Mankad, Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell