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The importance of matches are starting to heat up, with the results weighing heavily on the play-off spots. The latest fight will see Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Punjab Kings in match number 45 of the Indian Premier League 2021, with the match set to take place in Dubai International Stadium in Dubai. 

The Kolkata franchise currently occupies the fourth spot and Punjab Kings the sixth spot with only two points separating the teams in the table. Both teams who struggled for form in the first half of the league, have turned things around for the better with a string of victories in the second phase of the competition.

During the reverse future earlier this year, Kolkata Knight Riders cruised to a comfortable victory to a then out-of-form Punjab Kings. The Kolkata bowlers put in a team effort to derail Punjab’s chances of posting a decent score. And in return, Nitesh Rana and skipper Eoin Morgan saw out the game never putting the match in any doubt.

Can Kolkata Knight Riders assert their dominance and move forward in the race to the playoffs? Or can Punjab Kings spring a surprise and level things up on the table? 

Match Toss Time: 17:30 Local (19:00 IST)

Match Start Time: 18:00 Local (19:30 IST)

Match Venue:  Dubai International Stadium, Dubai

Head to Head

Matches Played: 28,  KKR: 19, PBKS: 9 

Weather Conditions and pitch

KKR vs PBKS weather and pitch fantasy

Team News

Andre Russell once again looks to miss out, with Tim Southee retaining his place in the team. The management would be keen not to make any other changes with the team in such fine form. Skipper Eoin Morgan’s form is a cause of concern and everyone would be hoping he finds his touch in the coming game

The Punjab management would be thinking of alternatives as apart from the top order, the rest of the batting order is failing to click as a unit. Although bowling is seen as one of the strengths, even the bowlers have begun to falter in recent matches. With their star batsman Chris Gayle deciding to pull out owing to fatigue, all-rounder Fabien Allen is likely to make it to the playing Xl.

Probable Playing XI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (C), Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier

Punjab Kings (PBKS): KL Rahul (C), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Fabien Allen, Harpreet Brar, Nathan Ellis, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh

Must-Picks

Punjab openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal look to be in fine touch, with the former competing for the orange cap of the Indian Premier League 2021.

Kolkata all-rounder Sunil Narine is in form and could have a great impact against the out-of-form Punjab Bowlers. Rahul Tripathi is another one who has constantly been among the runs for the team.

KKR vs PBKS fantasy team

KKR vs PBKS fantasy team
Cricwizz fantasy team

Captain and Vice-Captain picks

KL Rahul Rahul Tripathi KKR vs PBKS fantasy
KL Rahul (C) and Rahul Tripathi (Vc)

Prediction

With Punjab losing their last two matches, Kolkata looks the better in-form team and more balanced side than the Kings. With their middle order failing and bowlers failing to hit the mark, it would require a mountainous effort by the Punjab openers to create any chance of winning.

Criciwizz predicts Kolkata Knight Riders to win the match and cement their place at the 4th spot.

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