Ahmedabad, April 25
Punjab Kings (PBKS), who are placed fifth in the points table, will take on bottom-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Monday.
This will be the first match in Ahmedabad after the initial 20 matches of the tournament were played in Mumbai and Chennai.
PBKS, led by KL Rahul, scored a surprising nine-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Friday, while KKR, who lost to Rajasthan Royals by six wickets on Saturday night in Mumbai, have only a day to recover from their defeat.
The biggest concern for KKR will be their top-order batting that has been failing to put up big scores.
KKR skipper Eoin Morgan has been failing miserably. He aggregates just 45 in five matches and averages nine in the tournament so far. He was a bit unfortunate on Saturday as he fell to a duck without facing even a single ball.
Morgan said after Saturday’s game that KKR’s batting has failed to show intent. Team head coach Brendon McCullum concurred with Morgan.
KKR’s bowling too has a lot to worry about. Australia pacer Pat Cummins has failed to do anything of note and he could be replaced by New Zealander Lockie Ferguson in Monday’s game.
The Punjab franchise, however, seems to have gone got back to winning ways. While their bowling has been good throughout the tournament, their batting performance has been a bit inconsistent.
The inclusion of leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi has helped. His spell of two for 21 in four overs helped the franchise to restrict Mumbai Indians on Friday. Mohammed Shami too bowled well, including in the death overs, returning with figures of 2/21 in his four overs.
The biggest positive for PBKS, however, has been the return to form of Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal who has begun to get starts. Gayle did well in the last game against MI. Skipper Rahul too has been among the runs.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (captain/wicketkeeper), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Eoin Morgan (captain), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Varun CV, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi. — IANS