The number of undefeated franchises in the 2019 IPL will be whittled down further as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) host Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) after both teams opened their campaigns with wins.
Ah, that old adage that it takes one player to win (or lose) a game of Twenty20 cricket. With all due respect to Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa’s 80-run partnership, only Andre Russell could have pulled off what turned out to be the greatest of haul of runs (53) from the final three overs in IPL history.
KXIP’s opening victory at Jaipur, while soured by a controversial ‘Mankad’ incident, was otherwise a deserved win: despite Rajasthan compiling the highest ever powerplay score in Jaipur (64/0), they restricted the Royals to just 22 runs for their last seven partnerships.
This looks to be a very important coin toss: not only have KKR won 25 of 33 (75.76%, second highest of all eight teams) matches at home when chasing, KXIP have triumphed just twice from seven attempts at Eden Gardens when batting first. KKR have sent KXIP in to bat first on all four occasions when winning the toss at home.
KKR have long had the wood on KXIP, winning 15 of 23 H2H meetings, including a W7, L3 home record.
Fantasy Players to watch out for
At age 28, Chris Lynn (KKR) is by no means nearly finished, but passing ten just once in his last seven T20 innings would be of great concern.
Chris Gayle (KXIP) collected a record 21st Man of the Match award in his first match, taking the middle overs away from Rajasthan.
KXIP vs KKR T20 – Expected Playing XI
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sam Curran, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.