It is going to be an interesting affair between the second and fourth boys of the Indian Premier League, as the Rising Pune Supergiant will look forward to ensure their bid for a playoff place with an emphatic victory over the Knight Riders.
Kolkata Knight Riders have been one of the better sides this season, but they suffered a defeat in their last game. The heroics of David Warner helped Sunrisers Hyderabad scalp a comfortable victory against the Kolkata side. The Australian hit a ton to help his side register 209 in the board and in reply, the Knight Riders could only manage 161 from 20 overs. With this defeat, they maintained their second spot in the league table and are now at 14 points from 10 matches.
Pune, on the other hand, had to win their last match to stay in the hunt for a top four finish. And returning allrounder Ben Stokes did it in style. After an early collapse at the top order, the left handed batsman took charge to chase down Gujarat Lions’ 161. Stokes then scored a century and with necessary help from MS Dhoni and Dan Christian, managed to guide the Supergiant home, with one ball to spare. They are now at the fourth spot with 12 points from 10 games, but a win against the Knight Riders will help them leapfrog Sunrisers Hyderabad in the third place.
The reverse fixture:
It was a 47-ball-87 from Robin Uthappa that saved the day for Kolkata in the reverse leg at Pune. In response to Supergiant’s 182, Uthappa and Gambhir batted brilliantly to reach the target within 18.1 overs. The team will definitely depend on the duo to deliver yet again!
Kolkata Knight Riders are not a team to experiment too much. The only possible change, considering the weakness of Pune middle order against the spin bowling, they can include Shakib Al Hasan in place of Colin deGrandhomme. The other players should expect to retain their places.
Rising Pune Supergiant will be happy with the glorious return of Stokes and they should be happy with the performances of the other players as well. Naturally, we can expect an unchanged eleven from Steve Smith.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (C), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (WK), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith (C), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (WK), Ben Stokes, Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Jaidev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir.
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