Tournament Name: Match 30: Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kolkata Knight Riders
MCA Stadium, Pune (Capacity: 37,000)
Wednesday, 26th April 2017
As a stockbroker in nearby Mumbai would claim, trying to impress his friends and family, Pune’s stocks are maturing nicely. The Kolkata Knight Riders are strong, they always have been. Every game from now is the difference between qualification and an early exit and both teams will know how much rides on the contest.
Rising Pune Supergiants: W (MI), W (SRH), W (RCB)
Kolkata Knight Riders: W (RCB), L (GL), W (DD)
The Rising Pune Supergiant is a unit that’s showed massive improvement. They have not been convincing in their last two wins, with penultimate and last ball victories in their last two games. Their bowling has seemingly come of age, and what was a weak attack is now a more than competent one. Jaydev Unadkat bowls a world-class slower ball, and any follower of India’s domestic circuit will know Shardul Thakur’s worth. Washington Sundar is used well at the start of the innings and Ben Stokes’ and Imran Tahir’s bowling talent is not news. Their batting has concerns, with Smith and Rahane showing poor form (for their standards, anyway). However, their batting is relatively solid, with MS Dhoni, Dan Christian and Ben Stokes adding valuable runs in the middle and lower middle order. Overall, their unit looks well settled to take down the strong KKR without their strike bowler in conditions that suit their line-up.
The Knight Riders have a team that has steered them home year after year. Their batting is a minor concern, with their strike rates in the middle order too low to succeed consistently. Their bowling, however, ripped the heart out of Virat Kohli’s team with the same vigour that Steve Smith did it around a month ago. It has been one of the strongest this tournament, and Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav looking formidable. They will look to give Trent Boult a further run opening the bowling, with Nathan Coulter-Nile given rest for the game. Their lower-middle batting order hasn’t had the chance to fire much in the tournament, and they will be excited to see how Yusuf, de Grandhomme and Suryakumar go.
Pitch and Weather Report:
Pune is usually a flat deck, but pitches tend to slow down in the mid-tournament. The short boundaries still implies relatively high scores, in the 160-170 range. Spin will play a big part in the middle overs, and spinners can expect turn on a slow surface. The weather will be temperate in the night, with no chance of rain, unlike yesterday’s Chinnaswamy disappointment.
Rising Pune Supergiant: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Ben Stokes, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Dan Christian, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Jaydev Unadkat
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
The Knight Riders’ superior bowling has shown effectiveness on tracks like Pune’s, like the Mumbai wicket a few days ago. Their batting, while competent, may not be able to put up a gargantuan total, but should be able to chase down small totals, or even set up par scores. Save heroics from one of the Pune batsmen, the Knight Riders will go into the match confident of a win.
Vedant Jain is a contributor at CricMetric. For any queries or information, email firstname.lastname@example.org