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KKR vs PBKS, Preview: Knights look to inch closer to play-offs

After a clinical performance against the Delhi Capitals, the Knight Riders will lock horns against Punjab Kings on Friday, 1st October at the Dubai International Stadium. The boys in Purple and Gold have been in sublime form in the second phase of the Indian Premier League and will aim to get closer to the playoffs in this high-voltage clash.

In the 28 matches played thus far between the two sides, the Knight Riders have won 19 games and will head into the contest riding high on confidence. The team has won three out of the last four matches at the United Arab Emirates.

The bowling unit led by Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy have been instrumental in restricting the flow of runs and picking up crucial wickets in the middle overs. In the four matches played in Dubai, the Knight Riders have picked up 28 wickets at an average of 21.89, which is the best among all the teams.

The batting unit looks formidable, with the Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill in sublime form at the top of the order. The last encounter against the Capitals witnessed Nitish Rana's brilliance with the bat as the southpaw guided the team over the line with an unbeaten knock of 36. Along with Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik and skipper, Eoin Morgan, the middle order looks settled and will look to give much-needed impetus in the back end of the innings.

On the other hand, Punjab Kings will enter this crucial encounter after a six-wicket loss to the Mumbai Indians. The team has been heavily reliant on KL Rahul to lay a solid foundation with the bat. The skipper is currently third in the list of the leading run-scorers in the competition with 422 runs in ten league matches and has shouldered the bulk of the responsibility of the side in the batting department.

The onus of the bowling unit will depend on Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh. The duo have been the pick of the bowlers for Punjab and will play a crucial role with the new ball in the field restrictions. With 14 and 13 wickets, respectively, Punjab will look to their experienced players to create inroads in the batting unit of the Knight Riders.

KKR squad list:

Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (c), Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Pawan Negi, Tim Seifert, Shakib al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer.

Punjab Kings squad list:

KL Rahul (c), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Shahrukh Khan, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid, Murugan Ashwin, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Aiden Markram, Mandeep Singh, Darsan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Ravi Bishnoi, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar, Jalaj Saxena