Date: 26 April 2021
Time: 7:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Live Ball-by-Ball Commentary: SportsTiger App
After an action-packed Sunday, there is no time for Monday blues as the Indian Premier League has another great contest lined up. It will be the Punjab Kings up against the Kolkata Knight Riders at a different venue, the brand new Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad which will host its first-ever IPL match. While both teams have not had an ideal start to the tournament, things look more dismal for the Men in Purple who form the rock bottom of the eight-team table and have a solitary win to their credit after four matches. Punjab, meanwhile, have at least come back to winning ways after defeating reigning champions Mumbai Indians and will take enormous confidence heading into subsequent matches of the tournament. With both teams yet to play their best cricket, they would look to make winning a habit at this new venue and emerge as a contender to not only secure a place in the playoffs but perhaps even go on to lift the trophy.
Punjab Kings have done their fair share of shuffling in the team and may have well found their ideal combination. Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques and either of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith could be their overseas combination. However, one is yet to witness how the pitch behave in Ahmedabad and the gut feel of the captain about the wicket after having a look at it will have an impact on the final XI, he decides to field. There are no known injury or availability concerns from their team.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Kolkata might consider including Harbhajan Singh back into the XI given the history of the wicket. Other than that, despite their poor form, batsmen are expected to get a longer rope. This implies that their overseas combination could be Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Pat Cummins. With David Hussey suggesting that Shubman Gill could be one of the highest run getters at the end of IPL 2021, it is clear that he will play all matches despite a poor run so far.
Head to Head
Matches played: 27
Punjab Kings: 9
Kolkata Knight Riders: 18
KL Rahul holds the spine of Punjab's batting. Although it is often argued that he bats at a lower strike rate, it is also a fact that with the likes of Nicholas Pooran in terrible form, it is crucial for someone like to bat through the innings. Probably a better scoring rate would work as an icing on the cake but along with his skills behind the wicket and his leadership ability, Rahul is the key player to watch out for in this match.
For KKR, Rahul Tripathi has been getting off to great starts in the season so far. However, he has not been able to carry on and covert them into big scores to allow the big hitters to follow a great platform where they can express themselves. Tripathi would look to score big and lead Kolkata's turnaround in the competition.
While many were surprised that Bishnoi wasn't in the first XI for Punjab, Head Coach Anil Kumble later revealed that he was in fact working with him on his run up and that was the reason he wasn't picked straightaway. However, his first match in the tournament, saw him scalping a couple of wickets as he ended up being a part of a winning dressing room. It would be interesting to see how Bishnoi bowls at a new surface on offer in IPL 2021.
Probable Playing XI
KL Rahul (c/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson/Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ravi Bishnoi
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi