Ahmedabad: After hitting the rock bottom of the table, Kolkata Knight Riders are looking for a comeback as they lock horns with Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League in Ahmedabad on Monday (April 26). With the tournament now shifting from Chennai-Mumbai to Delhi-Ahmedabad, this could change the fortunes of the two-time champion.
Punjab after a scratchy start to the campaign finally looked in some kind of rhythm as they registered a dominating nine-wicket win over Mumbai Indians. First, youngster Ravi Bishnoi (2/21) spun his web alongside the experienced Mohammad Shami (2/21) holding Mumbai on 131/6 before an unbeaten 79-run stand between KL Rahul (60) and Chris Gayle (43) brought PBKS over the line.
KKR though will come into this game after a hat-trick of losses. The last game against Rajasthan Royals wasn’t anything different. Despite, having a strong batting lineup, the middle order collapsed horribly as Rahul Tripathi (36) and Dinesh Karthik (25) somehow got the side to 133/9 before Sanju Samson (42) and David Miller steadily brought Royals home.
One major problem for KKR this season has been the form of the openers. Although they get the starts they want but playing a bit too many deliveries in the process. Gill is not someone whom you can expect swashbuckling innings from and neither is Nitish Rana.
They both take time to settle down a bit. The management might opt for Tripathi or Sunil Narine as an opener in place Rana with the southpaw coming at No.3. Besides that, except for the match against CSK, Andre Russell has failed to deliver with the bat this season and so too skipper Eoin Morgan. His return to form will certainly boost the side’s spirit who clearly in search of inspiration.
As for Punjab, things looked a bit better in the past couple of games than what it was at the start. Chris Gayle’s return in form in the last game is the biggest positive for them with the big Jamaican expected to take the load off Rahul. The inclusion of Ravi Bishnoi in place of Murugan Ashwin has been a fruitful choice as the youngster looked quite sharp and refined from last season.