The first game of the blockbuster Saturday will see Kolkata Knight Riders lock horns with Kings XI Punjab Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Both teams have blown hot and cold so far in IPL 2020 and will be desperate to pocket these crucial two points today.
The constant chopping and changing have badly hurt Kings XI Punjab as they have failed to find the right combination. Since their only win against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the problems have only mounted. The over-reliance on KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have also come back to bite them hard.
Although Nicholas Pooran fought back in the last game to stable the middle-order, the rest of the batting collapsed around him like a house of cards. They have a lot of catch-ups to do and Kings XI Punjab will have to go all out today to secure two crucial points to keep their hopes alive in the competition.
After a couple of rusty performances to start off the campaign, Kolkata Knight Riders have finally come to a settled playing XI. Rahul Tripathi has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and will want to build on from here. Although Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik are yet to fire in IPL 2020 but have looked like they are one big hit away.
Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t bowled well in the competition and the management had to replace him with Varun Chakravarthy, who has done reasonably well. The highlight of Kolkata Knight Riders three wins from five games have been their young pace attack led by Pat Cummins.
IPL 2020: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on October 10 starting from 3:30 PM IST
This being an afternoon game could mean dew isn’t as much of a deciding factor. Slower bowlers are in demand at this venue with bigger boundaries. The team winning the toss will like to bat first with the wickets looking a bit slow from the earlier games.
Predicted Playing XI
Kolkata Knight Riders: Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (C, wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (C), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Prabhsimran Singh/Sarfraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh/M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammad Shami
Match Prediction – Who will win the match?
Kolkata Knight Riders have an upper hand whenever they have played against Kings XI Punjab. They have a 17-8 head-to-head advantage. Furthermore, Kolkata have in fact lost only thrice to Punjab in last 14 encounters since the 2014 season.
It will be an exciting encounter with both teams trying to match their skills but as it looks from here, Kolkata Knight Riders are the firm favourites to win this tie.