We have a double header in the Indian Premier League once again on Saturday with the opening match coming from Indore as the Kings XI Punjab host the Kolkata Knight Riders in a match with massive meaning to the overall landscape.
The two sides go into the match firmly ensconced in the battle for third and fourth place with Kings XI currently inside the playoff zone in third and Kolkata just outside of it in fifth. With matches running out for both this is huge.
Kings XI Punjab
In the initial stages of this season it looked as though the Kings XI Punjab were going to be challenging heavily at the top of the table. They won five of their first six matches but they only have one win in four since then but they do have a game in hand of the chasing pack next week which could be significant.
The weakness that has been in the Kings XI side for much of the season has really been exposed in those recent defeats with their middle order failing to either build on a good start or recover when wickets have begun to fall. It is just a lack of time in the middle but the only way you can get that is with time in the middle. It is the chicken and egg problem.
Kolkata Knight Riders
We are used to the Knight Riders falling away towards the end of the campaign but they will be a little bit worried about how early a possible slump has begun here. They have lost their last two matches, both to the Mumbai Indians which has brought them right back into the mix, but the size of their most recent defeat, and indeed the manner of it will be very much a concern.
Their batting is starting to show signs of slowing down which is not ideal but in truth it was a combination of everything that let them down against Mumbai last time out. It was the kind of performance that may send a side back to the drawing board however it could be too late in the day for that so they will be hoping it was a one off.
Kings XI Punjab need to do something about their middle order and the lack of production from it. Marcus Stoinis continues to bowl little so it might be time for David Miller in his place. Yuvraj Singh is the other option for someone.
Kolkata Knight Riders always have concerns over Andre Russell but they have managed him well enough thus far. You would think something has to change after a disastrous performance last time out but exactly what remains to be seen.
In fairness these two are both lacking a little form which doesn’t make betting on either of them an easy or inviting proposition. To be fair I’m not sure I would want to anyway on this Indore ground which is a pain in the backside to defend.
I will side with the form elsewhere though by taking the player performance of KL Rahul. The Indian international has been in blinding form in recent times with knocks of of 84* and 95* in his last two outings with the bat. He already has a 60 against Kolkata this season and as keeper he is scoring points with the gloves too. That makes a performance line of 41.5 look a little low especially when he totalled 70 at Eden Gardens. He is hitting the ball brilliantly and may well cover this with the bat but with three spinners fishing for stumpings the gloves could come into play if he doesn’t. I like the over however he covers it.
WON – Back KL.Rahul’s Performance – Over 41.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Bet365