IPL 2021, KKR vs PBKS preview: Kolkata looks to continue its unremitting form against an irregular Punjab
Kolkata Knight Riders has been in a severe form in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. It would be taking on an erratic Punjab Kings on Friday as it looks to stay in contention for the playoffs.
It has been an excellent ride for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL). As it looks to continue the same form, it would be taking on an inconsistent Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Match 45 at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday. In what is expected to be a thriller, we present the match preview.
KKR is placed fourth in the table, with five wins from 11 matches and has to win the remaining three games to seal its playoffs berth. As for PBKS, it is ranked sixth with four victories from 11 and would be aiming to win all matches hereon as a loss would severely dent its playoffs chances.
Considering the teams, KKR is lightly heavy on its bowling. Yet, its batting has been credible recently, especially its top-order that has mostly taken the game away from the oppositions, particularly openers Shubman Gill and uncapped Venkatesh Iyer. The course is likely to continue. A particular focus would be on skipper Eoin Morgan, along with Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Lockie Ferguson and Prasidh Krishna.
For PBKS, it is abundant in its bowling department. Anyway, its batting line-up has been admirable, too, with sufficient star power, presenting a confident PBKS bowling attack with some welfare. The likes of skipper KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal and Mohammed Shami would again draw the attention.
Injury concerns: For KKR, Russell's fitness would be the focus, while in the PBKS camp, Mayank would be hoping to get back after a stiff back.
The two sides have clashed on 28 instants, with KKR leading 19-9. Of the three games in UAE, PBKS leads 2-1, while it would be their maiden clash in Dubai.
Weather and pitch report
The weather in Dubai would be hot, with an expected temperature of 37 degrees and 53% humidity. The track would be evenly placed, as both the batters and bowlers would be equally assisted. With some dew factor in mind, the team winning the toss might look to chase.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee/Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy and Prasidh Krishna.
PBKS: KL Rahul (c) (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Harpreet Brar, Nathan Ellis, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh.
Batters: Agarwal, Rana, Tripathi- Agarwal is sure to give an explosive start, while Tripathi can do the same at number three, along with Rana in the middle-order.
Wicketkeeper: Rahul (c)- He is undoubtedly the man in form in this department and would be the perfect opening partner for Agarwal, while he is also our skipper.
All-rounders: Narine, Russell (VC)- Narine has been delivering with his mysterious spins while contributing with the bat too. Russell has been contributing with the ball but can fire with the bat on any given day. The latter's deadliness makes him the deputy skipper.
Bowlers: Shami, Krishna, Chakravarthy, Arshdeep, Ellis- Chakravarthy is a no-brainer here, while the remaining four have been highly impactful with their pace.
Date and day: October 1, 2021 (Friday)
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
Time: 7.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar