After Sunrisers Hyderabad’s win over Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab’s equations to reach the top four have become extremely simple! They now have to win all of their remaining games to even make a case for themselves.
The IPL 2017 table is led by Mumbai at the moment, who have 18 points from 12 games. Kolkata Knight Riders and Rising Pune Supergiants are in second and third, both having 16 points from as many matches. In the fourth place, Hyderabad consolidate their position with a victory over Mumbai on Monday and they now have 15 points from 13 games. Among other teams, only Kings XI have a chance to reach the playoff stage. They have gathered 10 points from 11 games, and they need to get maximum points from the other three games.
Both teams played their last games on Sunday. Kings XI piled 189 runs on the board, batting first against Gujarat Lions. But, Dwayne Smith’s valiant knock of 74 and useful contributions from Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik helped Lions clinch a victory with two balls to spare.
Kolkata, on the contrary, had a mindblowing outing against Royal Challengers Bangalore. In a game at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Kolkata were set a target of 159. And then, Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine toyed with RCB bowling to break all records. Both players raced to individual half-centuries, Narine setting a new record of 15-ball-50, and then it was a cakewalk for the in form side. Eventually, they reached the target with about 5 overs still on hand. This win has given a huge boost to their net run rate and may help them later.
Kings XI Punjab will miss their star opener Hashim Amla who has already scored two hundreds this season. David Miller will also join Amla to leave for international duties. On the other hand, Marcus Stoinis has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an injury. Manan Vohra will return to opening slot to partner Martin Guptill while Shaun Marsh and skipper Glenn Maxwell will have to take extra responsibilities in the middle order. For the fourth foreigner’s slot, it will be a battle between Darren Sammy and Matt Henry, and chances are high that the latter will be drafted in.
Predicted Kings XI Punjab eleven: Manan Vohra, Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell (C), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Axar Patel, Matt Henry, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan.
For the visitors, Robin Uthappa is expected to make a comeback. Other than that, only other possible change is the inclusion of Nathan Coulter-Nile who missed the last game due to injury. However, given the form of Colin deGrandhomme and Chris Woakes, the fast bowler may even have to sit out.
Predicted Kolkata Knight Riders eleven: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa (WK), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Chris Woakes, Colin deGrandhomme/Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot.
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