Vivo IPL 2017: Match 11: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab
Eden Gardens, Kolkata (Capacity: 66,349)
Thursday, April 13th
Let’s be frank. People treat the Kings XI like they treat Bangladesh at a world cup. 7 good teams………..
………….and then there’s the Kings XI.
They’re the IPL’s perennial underdogs, the one team that seem resigned to the bottom of the table, no matter which stars they bring in, or how hard they tried. When they, after finishing 8th out of 8 teams, released the fewest players, they were the laughing stock of the country. And yet, somehow, here we are, 10 games in, and they sit squarely at the top of the table, and the Kings XI have looked the most convincing team in the IPL so far. They’ve looked a different team, despite making all the ‘wrong decisions’. They’ve played the ageing star, who’s been woefully out of form, they don’t have a current Indian international or a frontline International bowler and perhaps most of all, they picked a player, who hasn’t captain in any first-class, Twenty20 or international cricket, ever. Yet, stats do not lie. The Kings XI are number one, as of right now.
KKR: L (MI) W (GL)
KXIP: W (RCB) W (RPS)
Kolkata have lost Chris Lynn, their star batsman, who could take the game away from any team. However, the return of Bangladeshi allrounder, Shakib-Al-Hasan, will bring balance to both the batting and bowling of their team. Their batting lineup is full of Indian talent, which will be a concern on a seam bowling friendly Eden Gardens pitch. Their bowling, on the other hand, has Trent Boult, who rocked an Indian batting lineup at this venue last year, Chris Woakes, who picked up 2 wickets in England’s ODI tour of India earlier this year and Sunil Narine, who is looking in good form of late. Kuldeep Yadav, who secured a 4-fer on a similar Dharamsala wicket, will also be key to their efforts. If Umesh Yadav returns from injury, his improved bowling over the last few months will be a giant boost for the Knight Riders.
The Kings XI Punjab’s overseas batting component will be key on a seam bowling surface. Amla, who has admittedly had difficulty with the moving ball, will devastate the Knight Riders if he gets in, and so will Stoinis and Maxwell. Having Wriddhiman Saha, who plays his first class cricket at Kolkata, will give the Kings an edge in terms of a batting lineup. The bowling lineup will get assistance from the pitch, but it is severely inexperienced bowling on helpful wickets against quality oppositions. Sandeep Sharma has the potential to swing the ball a long way, and his performance will be key to winning for the Kings XI. T Natrajan has not lived up to the hype, and will hope to make a better impression at Eden Gardens and Varun Aaron, who is often thought to be better on drier wickets, where his short-of-a-length bowling, might not perform as well as he did last game. Mohit Sharma has shown his worth on seaming wickets he is likely to be successful tomorrow.
Pitch and Weather Report:
The pitch is supposed to be a good track for seamers, as relaid wickets often are. However, hot weather may make the pitch slower than it was in the last international game, against England. The weather will be hot, in the mid thirties, with fairly humid conditions expected. Rain is unlikely.
KKR: 1. Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2. Robin Uthappa (wk) 3. Manish Pandey 4. Shakib Al-Hasan 5. Yusuf Pathan 6. Suryakumar Yadav 7. Chris Woakes 8. Sunil Narine 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Umesh Yadav 11. Trent Boult
KXIP: 1. Manan Vohra, 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Glenn Maxwell, 4. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 5. David Miller, 6. Marcus Stoinis, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Mohit Sharma, 9. Sandeep Sharma, 10. Varun Aaron, 11. T. Natrajan
Kolkata are generally strong at home, and have the support of over 60,000 fans in one of India’s most storied grounds. Their bowling attack looks extremely strong, and if their batting can fire, they will be favourites in this game. The Kings XI, due to their weak bowling attack (despite its successes this far), will go into the match as the underdogs. A high scoring match could be in store, as the ball flies off the bat at the Eden Gardens.
Vedant Jain is a contributor at CricMetric. For any queries or information, email email@example.com