As the road to playoffs gets narrower, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) prepare for a do-or-die contest in the Indian Premier League 2019 season. With both sides on ten points, it is a shootout for the last qualification spot.
The winner might not get a guaranteed spot in the top-four, but the loser will be sure to be knocked out of contention. That makes this a great game for the neutrals ahead of the playoffs.
After a good start to their campaign, KXIP lost track and are on a three-match losing streak. The bigger worry for the hosts is their negative run rate. With the season promising to down to the wire for the top-four spots, run-rate might hamper Punjab’s chances.
Failure to close out key moments remains a worry for Ravichandran Ashwin’s side. They have been largely dependent on a few players to make it count in their games so far – KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Ashwin and Mohammed Shami. This meant that if a couple of players failed, the Kings XI side was under pressure.
After a dream start to their 2019 IPL campaign, KKR find themselves staring at non-qualification. Just one win in seven games is indicative of their troubles in finding the right balance – something which their star player Andre Russell lamented.
Shubman Gill and Dinesh Karthik finding form is good news for KKR, as they look to come out of Russell’s shadow. The battle for KKR is more about getting their own side fire up, before taking the game up to the misfiring KXIP side.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Andre Russell has been the superstar of the season, not just for KKR but for the entire tournament. Most of his runs have come in boundaries, which adds more value to his presence in your fantasy side.
Shubman Gill has shown great promise while playing as an opener. That leaves us wondering why KKR took so long to find a sweet spot for the youngster.
KL Rahul has been extremely consistent with his scores and that makes him an ideal fantasy pick. He has a lot of big shots in his arsenal too, which is a bonus.
KXIP: 1 KL Rahul 2 Chris Gayle 3 Mayank Agarwal 4 Nicholas Pooran 5 David Miller 6 Simran Singh (WK) 7 Ravichandran Ashwin (C) 8 Murugan Ashwin 9 Mohammed Shami 10 Arshdeep Singh 11 Andrew Tye
KKR: 1 Shubman Gill 2 Chris Lynn 3 Sunil Narine 4 Robin Uthappa 5 Nitish Rana 6 Dinesh Karthik (C & WK) 7 Rinku Singh 8 Andre Russell 9 Piyush Chawla 10 Sandeep Warrier 11 Harry Gurney
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