Match 30 IPL 2017 (2017-04-26) @ Pune (SRSS)
Last season KKR beat Pune both times they played. Both teams have very different first elevens to the teams that competed in those two contests.
Pune started the season with a good win over Mumbai. They then had 3 defeats in a row. This was mainly due to poor bowling, particularly in the death. They now have a settled side and have won their last 3 matches. The bowling is much improved and the return to form of Dhoni gave them an unlikely victory against the Sunrisers.
KKR have won 5 from 7 matches so far. Their top order batting has been decent and with the use of Narine as a pitch-hitter, exciting to watch. Their bowling against RCB was exceptional when they bowled them out for 49 on Sunday after setting a disappointing total.
KKR have two areas where they can improve to become an even better team. Their middle order batting is out of form and this is causing momentum of their innings to stutter when wickets fall. They need Suryakumar Yadav and de Grandhomme to start contributing fast runs when required. Their second area is the economy rates of their seam bowlers.
Before this season 56% of matches at Pune had been won by the team batting first. This season 2 from 3 matches have been won by the chasing team. Due to the lack of pitch bias and the fact that Pune and KKR have won matches setting and chasing totals this season. I do not expect the toss to be significant.
The teams are very close on the Cricsq ratings with KKR just 2 points ahead of Pune. I expect it to be a very close contest between two sides in good form. KKR are just favorites on the computer model. At the time of writing I have not had a bet. Pune is currently available 2.1 on Betfair. If they go to 2.14 or above I will back Pune to win.
After tinkering with their batting line-up for their first few matches Pune have now found their preferred top 7 batsmen. The top 6 have all contributed at times and all have over 100 runs for the season.
The openers are Rahane and Tripathi. They got Pune off to a good start against Mumbai in the powerplay. Rahane scored 38 from 32 balls and Tripathi smashed 45 from just 31 balls. Tripathi has 178 runs for the season with a high strike rate of 152. Rahane has chipped in with 159 runs with a more sedate strike rate of 127.
Steve Smith bats at 3. He is Pune's top runner scorer with 224 runs at a strike rate of 135.
Dhoni is now batting at 4. He stormed back to form against the Sunrisers with 61 from 34 balls in a brilliantly judged chase. The problem for Pune is he is a very slow starter. This means the run rate drops when he comes in and momentum for the innings is lost. This is particularly a problem with they bat first. His overall strike for the season is 112.
Ben Stokes is currently coming in before Tiwary. Stokes has 127 runs with a strike rate of 127. There is a case for Tiwary going higher up the order at 4 or 5. He is a specialist batsmen with 137 so far this season with a high strike rate of 167.
Daniel Christian gives the Pune batting depth batting at 7. He has only had 3 innings but has a useful strike rate of 144.
Like their batting Pune's bowling is now more settled. The bowler unit has finally managed to stem the flow of runs that it suffered from early in the season.
Imran Tahir is the top wicket taker with 10. The leg spinner has an economy rate of 8 runs an over. Washington Sundar has played as the second spinner in the last two matches. He has only taken 1 wicket but has a decent economy rate of 6.4 an over.
Ben Stokes put in a brilliant performance in the win against Mumbai. He took the crucial wicket of Jos Buttler before he could get going and bowled well in the death. He ended with 2 for 21 off his 4 overs. Stokes now has 6 wickets with a economy rate of 7.4.
Dan Christian is the second overseas all-rounder. He has also been economical when required with an economy rate of 6.82. He has taken 2 wickets.
Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur are now the preferred Indian seamers. Unadkat has 5 wickets in 3 matches with an economy rate of 8.8 an over. Thakur has 4 wickets in 4 matches with an economy rate of 9.1 an over.
KKR were bowled out for 131 by RCB on Sunday. It was their worst batting performance of the season so far. They struggled to score of the spin bowling of Pawan Negi and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Since Chris Lynn's injury in their second match, Sunil Narine has opened the batting as a pitch hitter. He did the job again on Sunday scoring 34 off 17 balls. This included 18 off the first over. Gautam Gambhir is the other opener. He now has 243 runs with a strike rate of 137.
Robin Uthappa bats at 3. He has 185 runs with a strike rate of 158. Manish Pandey is KKR's top run scorer with 260. He has a strike rate of 141 and bats at 4.
Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav and Colin de Grandhomme bat in the middle order. They are currently out of form and have squandered some good starts made by the top order. Pathan has 105 runs with a strike rate of 136. Yadav has just 44 runs at less than a run a ball. De Grandhomme has just 1 run from 3 innings.
KKR need to work out their game plan for what to do after the powerplay and wickets start to fall. They have to accept that with Narine upfront the first wicket is likely to fall earlier than usual. This does not mean they should go into their shells and not exploit good starts.
KKR's bowling came back off a poor performance failing to defend 187 against The Lions to bowl RCB out for just 49 runs. RCB's quality top order had no answers to hostile fast bowling from Coulter-Nile, Woakes, Umesh Yadav and de Grandhomme.
KKR now have a settled attack with 4 seamers and 2 spinners. The seam attack has been expensive at times this season.
Chris Woakes is the top wicket taker with 10 wickets at an economy rate of 9.3 an over. Coulter-Nile has been brilliant since he replaced Boult 3 matches ago. He has 8 wickets with an economy rate of 8.2. Colin de Grandhomme has 4 wickets from 3 matches. He has gone at 7 an over. Umesh Yadav has 7 wickets with an economy rate of 9.1 an over.
Sunil Narine is usually the top spinner in the KKR team. This season he has only taken 4 wickets but he has an excellent economy rate of 6.4 runs an over. Kuldeep Yadav is the preferred second spinner. He has 6 wickets with an economy rate of 7.6. Piyush Chawla played 2 matches early in the season but went for 9.9 an over.
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