Kolkata Knight Riders
Kings XI Punjab
Kolkata Knight Riders have a better head-to-head record, and were on the winning side earlier this season as well. However, Kings XI Punjab are the team in form currently, with four wins on the trot while KKR have just two wins in their past five matches. Heading into this game at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, both sides would be optimistic for a win to augment their chances of making it to the playoffs.
Batting de Baadshah
Shubman Gill is the current leading run-scorer for Kolkata Knight Riders, but the youngster hasn’t got a big score in his last three games. The 21-year-old got a fifty when his side faced Kings XI Punjab a couple of weeks back, and his teammates would hope for a similar performance on Monday at Sharjah.
KL Rahul too has had two lean games, but still holds on to that Orange Cap with 567 runs after 11 games. Captain Punjab got a fifty in the reverse fixture, and would be eager to lead from the front yet again in this crucial game for his franchise.
Bowling de Kings
Varun Chakravarthy is in red-hot form at the moment, after he picked up the first five-wicket haul of IPL 2020. The former KXIP man ran all over Delhi Capitals’ middle-order in the previous game, and would be high of confidence heading into this crucial game, especially against a Punjab middle-order that has blown hot and cold.
Mohammed Shami has been KXIP’s lynchpin so far in the competition, with 17 wickets to his name. The veteran pacer picked up the wicket of Abdul Samad in their nervy win over SRH over the weekend, as he has looked sharp bowling in the powerplay as well as the death overs. Heading into this pivotal tie, the KXIP management would hope for another inspired performance.
Mudde di Baat
The stakes couldn’t be higher for both sides, as a win for KXIP will put them in the top four at the expense of Kolkata owing to their superior net run rate. For KKR, a win will put them on 14 points and almost assure them of a playoffs spot, as the chasing pack would all be stuck at ten points. While the loser of the game wouldn’t necessarily be out of the competition, a loss would put their destiny out of their hands, and would force them to depend on other results going their way to finish top four.
- Nicholas Pooran currently top the charts for the most sixes in the 2020 IPL season.
- Chris Gayle is just 16 runs away from scoring 1000 runs for KXIP in the IPL.
- Kings XI Punjab bowlers picked up six wickets while conceding just four runs in the death overs against SRH.
KL Rahul (c and wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Jimmy Neesham, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
Mayank Agarwal would most likely be fit for this game and would slot straight back into the team at the expense of Deepak Hooda, with Mandeep Singh moving back to his preferred middle-order spot. The other change one can expect is having Jimmy Neesham replace Glenn Maxwell, given the small boundaries at Sharjah.
NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.