KKR vs PBKS, October 1 2021, 7:30 IST
Â With three rounds remaining in the league phase, it’s a logjam for the race to the playoffs as far as four teams are concerned. Chennai Super Kings became the first team to qualify for the playoffs, the Sunrisers became the first team to be officially eliminated.
The Royal Challengers and the Delhi Capitals are extremely well placed and that leaves the other four franchises battling for a possible fourth position. It also means that the teams facing each other becomes quite crucial and that brings us to tonight’s game in Dubai. As it stands, the Knight Riders currently occupy the final playoff spot and should start tonight’s game as favourites.
How the clash looks like and past records
Eoin Morgan’s men have had a turnaround in the second phase of the tournament – winning 3 out of the 4 games so far. On the other hand, the Punjab Kings have slipped a bit, with just one win from three games. Two points separate them from 4th to 6th and even a win tonight isn’t enough for KL Rahul’s team to get into the playoff spot.
But at least they would be in shouting distance and wouldn’t have to depend on other teams to reserve a berth in the playoffs. A head-to-head record of 19-9 in favour of Kolkata doesn’t make good reading either, but having placed themselves in a must-win situation, the Kings from Punjab don’t have much to lose either.
KL Rahul | PBKS Skipper on winning the toss:Â We will bowl first. The wicket has been quite tricky, some days it’s 180, some other days it’s 150. So it could be tricky to bat first, better for the opposition to set the target. Our bowling group has done well, but the batting hasn’t fired, but it’s another opportunity for us. Chris Gayle has left the bubble, Fabian Allen is in. Mayank replaces Mandeep and Shahrukh Khan is in, replacing Harpreet Brar.
Eoin Morgan | KKR Skipper talks about batting first:Â It will be a challenge, but there’s no advantage chasing. The teams that play well have deserved the points. Two changes for us – one forced, Seifert is in for Lockie, Shivam Mavi replaces Sandeep Warrier. Both Lockie and Russell have been monitored and we’ll take a call on them. The wicket doesn’t look too bad, we’ll have to adapt to these conditions and play well.
Kolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan(c), Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w), Tim Seifert, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Varun Chakaravarthy
Punjab Kings (Playing XI): KL Rahul(w/c), Mayank Agarwal, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda, Fabian Allen, Nathan Ellis, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh