Sharjah Cricket Stadium will host Match 46 of Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 when Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) square off against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Monday.
Both the teams are coming into this game on the back of their impressive wins. KKR made a stunning turnaround after their performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and went on to beat Delhi Capitals (DC) by 59 runs. On the other hand, KXIP held their nerve and won their fourth game on the bounce, defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) while defending 126.
While KKR are in the top half of the points table with six wins against their name, KXIP's, following their resurgence, are occupying the fifth spot in the standings. In their last meeting, KKR and KXIP played out a last-ball thriller where KKR edged out KXIP by two runs, defending 164.
Almost Everything clicked for KKR agains Dc in the last match but if we look a little closer, we can still find some serious issues with the team balance. If KKR retain the the winning combination and go into the match with the same team, that means KKR is going into the match with five bowlers and Sunil Narine as the all-rounder. Narine may have scored runs against DC but it is difficult to really bank on him for runs after his poor form this season. The batting is very thin with Gill, Rana, Tripathi, Karthik, and Morgan as the genuine batters.
Shubman Gill is having a bit of a tough time at the top of the order. His strike-rate has come under pressure and he has been asked to be more assertive at the top of the order. Whether he is able to follow those instructions or not comfortably remains to be seen. Nitsih Rana has one good inning to his name, Rahul Tripathi has looked out of his depth in recent matches, and Dinesh Karthik has struggled as well.
We can see KKR's batting collapse under a bit of pressure pretty easily.
The addition of Lockie Ferguson has added a lot of teeth to the bowling. Pat Cummins also bowled very well against DC and picked up three wickets, his entire total for IPL 2020 up until that point.
Varun Chakravarthy's five wickets cannot be discounted but he had all the conditions going in his favor. Prasidh Krishna and Kamlesh Nagarkoti are decent but not great and Sunil Narine is under scrutiny for his bowling.
KXIP has four wins in a row coming into this match, the exact same number of games Chris Gayle has played for them this season. They also managed to win without Mayank Aggarwal in the previous game.
KXIP has a very strong batting lineup. Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Aggarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, and possibly Glenn Maxwell form a blockbuster batting lineup. Glen Maxwell has been very poor this season, though, and KXIP may be tempted to switch him out for someone like Jimmy Neesham. There is no doubt that the six-hitting prowess in KXIP is far better than what KKR has at its disposal.
Perhaps the biggest improvement in KXIP's performance has been its bowling. Chris Jordan seems to have found his radar and young Arshdeep Singh has been very effective in the death overs as well.
With Glenn Maxwell, M Ashwin, and Ravi Bishnoi, KXIP also has a lot of spin options to use throughout the inning. Mohammad Shami is the spearhead up front and Deepak Hooda is Indian batsman to round things out in the playing eleven.
KXIP has found a nice balance to its side and is able to perform consistently. The form of its senior batsmen is also a huge advantage.
The temperature today in Sharjah is around 33 degree Celsius. Wind speed will be about 21 kmph and humidity is expected to be around 39 per cent. There is no forecast of rain.
Sharjah Cricket Stadium pitch has slowed down considerably, with the new-ball bowlers ruling the roost of late. Fast have enjoyed conditions due to the early swing on offer, which should be the case in this game as well. However, the dimensions of the ground favour the batter as the straight boundaries are very small. Batsmen can really cause havoc once they get set. Dew can play a role in the second innings of the game.
The team who will win the toss will elect to bat first as chasing had been difficult in the most recent matches of IPL. The team batting first would want to put a total of at least 170 runs on the board to feel comfortable defending.
Stats and Facts
Head to head: Matches Played: 29
Kolkata Knight Riders: 19
Kings XI Punjab: 7
Rahul Tripathi needs 60 runs to complete 1000 IPL runs.
Nitish Rana requires 87 runs to complete 1000 IPL runs for KKR.
Chris Gayle needs 16 runs to complete 1000 IPL runs for KXIP.
KL Rahul requires 65 runs to complete 2000 IPL runs as wicketkeeper.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (capt, wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami
Kolkata Knight Riders: Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (capt), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson/Andre Russell
Players to Watch Out For:
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mohammed Shami
Kolkata Knight Riders: Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1.80
Kings XI Punjab: 2.00
SantaBanta's Winner Prediction: Kolkata Knight Riders
IPL 2020 Winner Live Odds
Mumbai Indians - 2.875
Royal Challengers Bangalore - 4
Delhi Capitals - 4
Kings XI Punjab - 8.5
Kolkata Knight Riders - 10
Rajasthan Royals - 26
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 81
Match Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Time: 7.30 PM IST
TV: Star Sports Network
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP