Kolkata Knight Riders & Kings XI Punjab have commenced their IPL 2019 campaigns with thrilling wins over Rajasthan Royals & Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. In their opening game of IPL 12, both the franchises were down & out for major portion of their matches but at the end both the teams were able to snatch last over wins. In their second game of the season, Priety Zinta owned KXIP will take on Sharukh Khan’s Knight Riders at Kolkata’s, Eden Gardens stadium.
For the seventh consecutive year in a row, Kolkata Knight Riders have secured win in their opening fixture of the Indian Premier League. Andre Russell’s mind-boggling show with bat sealed a thriller for KKR over the Sunrisers Hyderabad. After opting to bowl, Kolkata’s bowlers failed to strike with the ball and gave away 180 runs which looked above par before Dre Russ’ inhumane innings. The Knight Riders will hope their premier spinners Kuldeep Yadav & Sunil Narine get back into their top rhythm with the ball. After a sensational victory in the first game, they might not tinker with the playing XI against Punjab.
KXIP got under way of their 2019 Indian Premier League season with a win over Rajasthan Royals in a thrilling & controversial manner. Thanks to Chris Gayle’s 47 ball 79, KXIP managed to post a defendable total after a sluggish start in the powerplay. Later with the help of R Ashwin’s debatable Mankading of Jos Butler, Punjab’s bowlers collectively managed to secure a winning start to the season. If KL Rahul also gets into his groove, it’ll be very tough for the Knight Riders’ bowlers who already had a poor outing at Eden Gardens. If David Miller is available for selection, he may replace Nicholas Pooran meaning KL Rahul would have to take wicket-keeping duties. However, we feel that they might go with an unchanged XI for their first home game of the season.
Chris Gayle v Sunil Narine
Once again Chris Gayle has kick-started his IPL season with a bang like he did all these years. His gritty 79 gave KXIP a very good total to defend and the charismatic opener will once again look to put on a show for Punjab’s first home game. During his 79 against RR, Gayle completed 4000 IPL runs in his 113th match. Now he has 4073 runs in IPL with 175* being his career best.
Sunil Narine has been the mainstay of KKR’s bowling attack in IPL for quite a while now. The mystery spinner had many memorable winning contributions for the Kolkata based franchise. In 99 IPL games that he has played for KKR, Narine scalped 112 wickets with an economy of just 6.56 and with an average of 22.56 with six 4-wicket hauls.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman v Chris Lynn
Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s ability to bowl in powerplay is an added advantage for any captain, particularly for R Ashwin, who himself is an off-spinner. He made his mark in KXIP’s first game against RR with two crucial wickets in the end which included Ben Stokes. In the 12 IPL games, Mujeeb has 16 wickets at an economy of just 7 which is quite remarkable considering he bowls mostly in powerplays and at the death.
Chris Lynn is known for his big power hitting abilities and we all have witnessed how dangerous he can be with the bat in various franchise-based leagues round the world. The Queensland born cricketer, came to limelight with some swash-buckling innings played in the Big Bash League and earned T20 contracts in all the major leagues around the World. Though he made his IPL debut in 2012 edition, his winning contributions for KKR came mostly in the last couple of seasons. In 29 IPL games, he has scored 882 runs at a strike-rate close to 140 with 93* being his best.
Both KXIP & KKR have won very close encounters to start their 2019 season. While possessing a formidable opening combo in Gayle & Rahul, and coupled up with decent bowling attack, Cricwizz predicts Kings XI Punjab to secure a win against Kolkata Knight Riders. But one cannot take KKR lightly which is filled with match winners who can single-handedly turn a game on their own.