KKR vs KXIP preview: Kings brace for tough Knights

first_imgIt will be a battle to savour when Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab clash in Qualifier 1 at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.While the hosts are on a high after registering seven wins in a row, KXIP have been the most impressive team this season and deservedly topped the points table.But as KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir said, it will be a new day and more importantly a big stage. While coming first and second in the group stage gives the two teams the cushion of having another crack at the final berth if they lose on Tuesday, they would look to grab a place in the final at the first attempt. But all plans could go for a toss as rain is in the air. Thundershowers on Monday afternoon meant neither team could train.The forecast is similar for Tuesday as well. If there is no result on Tuesday, the teams will lock horns on Wednesday – the reserve day.The Eden Gardens has been a fortress for Kolkata as they are yet to lose a match here this season and the local support has been amazing. Even on Monday, hundreds of people were seen braving the rain to queue up outside the Mohammedan Sporting ground to buy tickets for Tuesday’s match.While both the Orange Cap and Purple Cap in the to the KKR camp, courtesy Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine, the team would be pleased with the way out-of-touch Yusuf Pathan showed a touch of his old self against SunRisers Hyderabad on Saturday.advertisementWith the Eden wicket having quite a bit of grass, the likes of Morne Morkel have also thrived. But KXIP can’t be taken lightly and KKR know that well. Not only do they have the likes of Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, George Bailey and Manan Vohra to start with, even wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha seems to have turned a new leaf with the bat. And one can never discount the veteran Virender Sehwag.The bowling unit might not other than Mitchell Johnson, but the likes of Sandeep Sharma and Akshar Patel have got noticed. Even senior campaigners like L. Balaji have pitched in.While Gambhir doesn’t believe too much in momentum, Bailey does. The fact that after losing a couple of matches in the middle of the season KXIP are back to winning ways, gives him confidence.”I don’t want to give away too much, but we would definitely like to repeat what we did against KXIP in the group stages,” KKR coach Trevor Bayliss said. “While we had lost the first match, I feel we did very well against them in the second game. We have to be on our game and considering the kind of talent they have, we have to concentrate on doing our job well,” he said.Bayliss said players of Sehwag’s calibre can turn any game on its head.”He is still a very dangerous player. Maybe the consistency falls a bit with such players, but it doesn’t mean they can’t win matches singlehandedly. He has done well in different stages in the tournament and can be very destructive. We will look to get him early,” he said.Commenting on his team’s dream run, Bayliss said he would still like to see the bowling improve.”Apart from that, I can’t see too many areas that we need to work on. We are at the top of our game and have peaked at the right time.”KXIP coach Sanjay Bangar said he is not too worried about KKR’s seven-match winning streak. “Past records don’t indicate anything. All the teams in the playoffs are here because they have done well. We have been doing well for a longer time,” he said.While the Eden crowd can be daunting for the opposition, Bangar is looking forward to the occasion. “Eden produces great cricket and the crowd will add to the atmosphere. We will revel in the conditions,” he said.last_img

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