We have the reached the halfway stage of this edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Match 30 of the tournament will be between Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Maharashtra Cricket Stadium in Pune. Having won their respective previous encounters, both teams are currently high on confidence.
On Sunday night, Kolkata came up with the best bowling performance of IPL history and bowled out the star studded Royal Challengers Bangalore for 49 – the lowest team total in the tournament. Pune on the other hand defended 161 against table topper Mumbai to get crucial two points on Monday night at Wankhede. Thus, fans can expect an exciting contest on Wednesday night.
Experts feel this particular encounter will be between RPS batting vs KKR bowling. With the likes of Steven Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni and Ben Stokes around RPS are heavily loaded with batting firepower. Whereas KKR have their pace battery, which consist of Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav and Colin de Grandhomme.
On the Pune track the slow bowlers are expected to get some assistance. So eyes will be on the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Imran Tahir and Washington Sundar. KKR might consider getting Shakib al Hasan in the playing eleven.
Meanwhile, let’s have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the both the teams.
Rising Pune Supergiant strengths: As it is being mentioned earlier, batting is RPS’s main strength. Smith is in good form. In last few games Dhoni came up in the batting order and played some crucial knocks. At the top of the order, Rahane and Rahul Tripathy are doing well. Down the order Manoj Tiwary has been impressive. In the middle order they have Stokes. So. RPS will primarily depend on the batting to deliver the goods.
Rising Pune Supergiant weaknesses: Lack of firepower in bowling has been a major issue for the team management. Apart from Imran Tahir no other bowler from this team has been impressive. Stokes has been patchy will ball. Others like Shardul Thakur and Jaidev Unadkat have leaked a lot of runs. This is one area in which Pune need to improve.
Kolkata Knight Riders strengths: Balance in the team is KKR’s main strength. They have an in-form batting line up where the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and the opener Sunil Narine have been performing consistently.
In the bowling department, the ‘Boys in Purple’ have shown what they can do in the previous match. Thus, they are oozing with confidence.
Kolkata Knight Riders weaknesses: At times it has been noticed KKR have not been able to convert the good starts provided by the top order batsmen. The lower-middle order batters can crumble under pressure. KKR team management has to work on this area.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathy, Steven Smith (C), MS Dhoni (WK), Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, Dale Christian, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Jaidev Unadkat, Imran Tahir.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (C), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (WK), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav.
Pitch and weather conditions: The wicket at the MCA stadium in Pune has been a batting friendly one. So toss is going to be very crucial as both batting heavy teams will prefer to chase here. The wicket might have a trick or two for the slow bowlers.
Match prediction: Both Kolkata and Pune are evenly matched teams and both are in form. So it is tough to predict the outcome of the match. But keeping the recent form and team combination in mind, it seems KKR have their noses ahead in this encounter. However, Pune have all the firepower to outclass the Knights, especially at their home ground, in front of their own supporters.