It’s Match 2 of IPL where Punjab Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders are set to battle against each other in their opening encounter. A cold rivalry had emerged between these two due to their clash in finals back then in IPL 2014 where the favourites PBKS lost the final to KKR who made a miraculous comeback that season.
Overall also KKR seems to dominate this rivalry as they have faced each other in 30 matches out of which 20 times KKR has emerged victorious.
Kolkata Knight Riders
They were already looking quite incomplete after the auction and later the unavailability of their captain Shreyas Iyer due to a back injury has been a major blow to them. His absence had not just weakened the team’s leadership but also the stability of their middle order. He scored 401 runs for them last season with an average of 30.85 and a strike rate of 134.6.
However, their bowling seems to be quite good. They have Narine and Varun in their spin department and Suyash Sharma also looks very promising youngster. And in the pace department, they have Shardul, Lockie, Umesh, and Southee. But here also death bowling seems to be a problem as all of these bowlers have been expensive at the death.
With all these points considered, KKR seems to be an unstable side overall and someone like skipper Nitish Rana or Venky Iyer would have to step up and deliver if they want to kick off their title run with a victory.
They were one of the teams who started their mini auction with a huge purse but were able to make only a few good buys like Sam Curran and Sikandar Raza. They were also blown by Jonny Bairstow’s unavailability as he still hasn’t completely recovered from his leg injury and Australian all-rounder Mathew Short has been named his replacement who also won the player of the tournament award in BBL 2022-23.
The inaugural match will be quite difficult for the kings as two of their other key players Kagiso Rabada and Liam Livingstone will also miss the match. In absence of these players, the role of Bhanuka Rajapaksha and Arshdeep Singh becomes more prominent and one of both of them will have to step up in this match to lead them to a victory over the Knights. Someone like Prabhsimran Singh could also come in as he had great form in the recent season of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The pitch at Mohali provides some early assistance to pace bowlers. But over it is a batting-friendly wicket and generally produces huge runs. It has hosted a total of 6 T20I and 55 IPL matches so far. Out of these 61 games, 35 have been won by chasing teams. So the teams chasing the target have an advantage here. Even a high target can be easily chased.
However, the overall lowest total defended in this ground is 150 by SRH in a match against the home team PBKS back then in 2014.
Probable Playing XI
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prabhsimran Singh(wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Sikander Raza, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Ellis, Rahul Chahar
Kolkata Knight Riders: Venkatesh Iyer, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Nitish Rana (c), Mandeep Singh, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy
Players to Watch Out For
This Caribbean all-rounder without any doubt, has been one of the most impactful players in the history of IPL. He is the old guardian of the Knights and is known for his explosive style of batting which has often led KKR to huge totals even after an early collapse.
Russell has also got a great record against Punjab Kings.
He has scored 331 runs against them at an average of 36.78 and a dangerous strike rate of 204. Russell has also taken 15 wickets against them at a bowling average of 20.13.
The Vidarbha Express will also play a very important role in this upcoming match. As this pitch provides early assistance to pacers, it’ll be his responsibility to get those early wickets in the powerplay and build initial pressure.
He also loves performing against PBKS and has got a very astonishing record against them. The Indian Pacer has also won 6 MoM awards against PBKS which is the most by any player against a single team in IPL history.
Dhawan has been one of the most consistent batters in the IPL and has continuously scored 450+ runs every season since 2016. The responsibility of giving a solid start to the Kings will rely on his shoulders.
His anchoring role would be really crucial in the absence of any other experienced batter. If he can anchor the innings from one end it would give freedom to other explosive batters like Rajapaksha, Shahrukh and Jitesh to play their natural game.
This young gun will be leading the PBKS pace attack in the absence of Kagiso Rabada. His role will be really crucial as they don’t have any other experienced pacer on their side.
He has also performed very well in the last couple of seasons. He can bowl quality swing in the powerplay taking some early wickets and also bowls economically in the crucial death overs.
Nitish Rana vs Nathan Ellis: Runs-25 Balls-19 Out-2
Andre Russell vs Nathan Ellis: Runs-5 Balls-8 Out-1
Shikhar Dhawan vs Tim Southee: Runs-42 Balls-45 Out-3
Shikhar Dhawan vs Varun Chakravarthy: Runs-30 Balls-31 Out-2
PBKS vs KKR Dream11 Team
Note: This is not our final Dream11 Team as we are not aware of the toss results/final playing xi of both teams at this moment.
To remain updated and get our final Dream11 Team, Join our Telegram channel Clan For Gamers