Match 11 IPL 2017 (2017-04-13) @ Kolkata (EG)
This will be the first match at Eden Gardens this season. KKR have a great home record winning 13 from 17 matches here over the last 3 IPL seasons. In those seasons KKR have beaten Punjab 7 times with Punjab only beating them once.
Punjab are a different prospect this year. Under the captaincy of Glenn Maxwell they have easily won their first 2 matches. Their predominately Indian attack has restricted the opposition to 163 and 158 which the batsmen have easily chased down.
KKR suffered a blow when their star batsman Chris Lynn suffered a shoulder injury fielding against Mumbai. His runs will be missed at the top of the order. He is currently the top tournament run scorer with 125 runs at a strike rate of 192.
KKR do have ICC number 1 rated allrounder Shakib Al Hasan available to replace him. He will provide an extra spin option for them which is a bonus at Eden Gardens.
Both teams are evenly matched on the Cricsq ratings. KKR have a rating of 87 and KXIP a climbing 84. The average score for team batting first is 155 with the average first innings winning score being 167.
The home team are currently very short at 1.84 on Betfair so I am tempted to oppose them. But it is a big advantage to chase here with 63% of chasing teams winning in IPL matches so my strategy will be to wait for the toss and back the chasing side.
KKR will have to make changes due to the injury to Chris Lynn. Robin Uthappa will return to opening with Gambhir. Gambhir has been in fine form scoring 95 runs at a strike of 156 in his two innings. Uthappa scored just 4 in his only innings. He has been out of form in Indian domestic cricket. KKR will be hoping he bounces back in the absence of Lynn.
Manish Pandey was the star of the KKR innings against Mumbai on Sunday with 81 from 47. To replace Lynn in the order KKR have Darren Bravo if they wish to choose a batting option. They also have Rovman Powell, Colin de Grandomme and Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib will play as he provides spin bowling and will add strength to the middle order.
Whether Bravo plays or not depends on the balance of the side. Trent Boult could be swapped for Shakib and Bravo replace Lynn. It would make sense on the spin friendly pitch at Eden Gardens.
KKR will hope for more this time from Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav\tand Chris Woakes in the middle order. In the Mumbai game they scored a combined 32 off 34 balls towards the end of the innings which is not good enough at this level.
KKR have always used a strong spin attack at Eden Gardens. Piyush Chawla must return. He took 1 for 33 in his 4 overs in the first match but did not play in the second. Trent Boult has gone at 87 runs in just under 8 overs. He should make may for Shakib. This will strengthen both the batting and the bowling.
Ankit Rajpoot and Chris Woakes would then be the seamers. They have both been expensive so far but Woakes adds to the batting and Rajpoot has the advantage of being a domestic player.
The attack would then have four main line spinners. Shakib, Chawla, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. Narine was in form on Sunday taking one for 22 off his 4 overs. Yadav has also been economical and taken 3 wickets in the competition.
Punjab chased down 148 against RCB and 163 against RPS. Both chases were achieved relatively easily on a tricky Indore pitch. They lost 4 wickets against RCB and just 2 against RPS.
Amla and Vohra set the platform in the second match. In the first match Amla was sluggish against RCB but his 58 off 38 balls showed a return to form. Vohra has striked at over 150 in both games scoring 14 and 34.
Axar Patel has batted up the order in both matches. He has scored 24 and 9 and done nothing wrong. If KXIP bat first Maxwell, Miller and Saha should bet above him, if quick runs are required. Miller and Saha were not required in the second match but both look in form against RCB.
Glenn Maxwell has had a great start to the season with 44 not out and 43 not out seeing his team home on both occasions. The responsibility of captain suits him. His strike run is amazing at around 200.
Stoinis and the tail are yet to bat. With Amla back in form there is little chance of Eoin Morgan getting a game as an overseas player.
The Punjab attack consists of specialist domestic bowlers and Stoinis as the all rounder. They have bowled well as a unit in both matches. They are yet to be tested defending a total but they have managed to restrict RCB to 148 and RSP to 163.
Axar Patel has returned 1 for 12 in his 4 overs against RCB and 1 for 27 against RPS. He has been brilliant. At Eden Gardens he could do with some spin support. Swapnil Singh could return to the side after going for 7 an over in 2 overs in the first match. Glenn Maxwell could also provide a couple of spin overs if required.
The seam attack consists of Varun Aaron, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Natarjan. Sandeep Sharma made an early break through in both matches to put the opposition under pressure. Against RCB Varun Aaron took 2 for 21 in 4 overs.
Mohit Sharma has been expensive. Natarjan only bowled one over against RCB and went for 13 runs. This followed 1 for 26 in 3 overs against RPS. I expect him to be the one to lose their place this time to make room for Swapnil Singh.
They have Matt Henry in the squad but there is no need to include him as an overseas player while the others are performing.
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