Match 41 IPL 2017 (2017-05-03) @ Kolkata (EG)
KKR chased down Pune's total of 182 when these two teams met last Wednesday. It was a great run chase by Gambhir and Uthappa winning with 11 balls to spare. Uthappa scored 87 from just 47 balls including 7 sixes.
Since that match Pune have beaten both RCB and the Lions. KKR beat the Delhi Daredevils thanks to another Gambhir/Uthappa run chase and then lost to the Sunrisers in Hyderabad.
At Hyderabad KKR found David Warner in devastating form. He smashed 126 from 59 balls in a total of 209. This was too much even for an in form chasing team. The disappointing part for KKR is that their middle order made no real attempt to get the runs. They cannot rely on the top order every time if they are to win the IPL.
Pune have now won 5 of their last 6 matches and must be high in confidence. After 4 early wickets on Monday Stokes got them home against the Lions. They have not won many matches convincingly but they are finding ways to win.
KKR have a good record at home. So far this season they have won 4 from 5 matches at home. Eden Gardens recently favors the chasing side. In the 24 IPL matches since 2014 the chasing side has won 61% of the time. Both teams also have a better record chasing. KKR have won 68% of matches they have chased in since 2014 and Pune have won 73% of the time when they have chased.
The 2 sides are very close in the table and in the Cricsq ratings. They both have well balanced attacks and in-form batsmen. At the time of writing KKR are 1.79 on Betfair and Pune are 2.24. I am going to wait until the toss and back the team that bats second due the pitch bias and team preferences.
KKR have a top 3 of Narine, Gambhir and Uthappa. Gambhir and Uthappa are second and third in the top run scorers for this IPL.
Narine opens with Gambhir. Narine is a pitch hitter and has got KKR off to a flyer on several occassions. He has 142 runs with a strike rate of 171. Gambhir tries to play the anchor role. He has 387 runs with a strike rate of 135. He has been in a number of good partnerships with Uthappa. Uthappa has 384 runs with a strike rate of 171.
Manish Pandey bats at 4. He started the season well. His 69 against Delhi went a long way to win them the match. Recently his form has dropped off. He has 304 runs with a strike rate of 140.
Recently the KKR middle order has consisted of Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson and Colin de Grandhomme. They have not faced many balls in the competition due to the top order playing so well. They collectively failed to score quickly enough chasing 209 against SRH on Sunday.
KKR's bowlers have been good throughout the season. Their main blemish was conceding 209 to SRH. That match only Chris Woakes managed to take a wicket.
Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav are their main seam bowlers. Woakes has 11 wickets but has been expensive going at almost 10 an over. Coulter-Nile also has 11 wickets but he has played 5 fewer matches. He has a better economy of 8.3. Umesh Yadav has 9 wickets with an economy rate of 8.9.
Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav are the current KKR spinners. They both went for over 10 an over against the Sunrisers. It was their worst performance. They have both been going for under 8 an over for the whole IPL. Narine has 6 wickets and Kuldeep Yahav has 8.
Colin de Grandhomme plays as the all-rounder. He has 4 wickets from 5 matches with an economy rate of 8.1 an over.
Ben Stokes scored a brilliant hundred on Monday when Pune chased down the Lions total. The top order failed that day with all of the top 4 only managing single figures.
Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi open the batting for Pune. Rahane has 215 runs for the season with a strike rate of 121. Tripathi has been in better recent form. He has 259 runs with a strike rate of 148.
Steven Smith bats at 3. He has 324 runs with strike rate of 136. Since his 84 against Mumbai early in the tournament he has only scored 1 fifty. He keeps getting in but not carrying on. Manoj Tiwary batted at 4 against The Lions. He has 182 runs with a strike rate of 150.
The middle order consists of Stokes, Dhoni and Christian. Stokes got the team home on Monday with his first T20 hundred. He now has 230 runs with a strike rate of 147. Dhoni kept him company in that chase. He has 199 runs but has a low strike rate of 113. Christian has a strike rate of 184 but has not has much of chance to bat.
Imran Tahir is Pune's main threat. He has 16 wickets with an economy rate of 7.9 an over. Recently he has been joined in the spin department by Washington Sundar. Sundar only has 2 wickets from 5 matches but has been economical only going at 6.9 an over.
Pune have settled on Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur as their Indian seam bowlers. Unadkat took 3 for 29 and Thakur took 1 for 25 on Monday. Unadkat now has 10 wickets from 6 matches with an economy rate of 8 an over. Thakur has 5 wickets and have gone at 9 an over.
Ben Stokes and Dan Christian are the all-rounders in the team. Stokes has 6 wickets with a good economy rate of 7.6 an over. Christian has been even more economical going at 7.2 an over. He has 5 wickets from 7 matches.
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