The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will be in a desperate change in fortune as they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) up next. Punjab have managed to register just the win one win in the IPL so far, whereas, the Knight Riders are fresh from a big win over the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Both camps have certain sets of players that will be expected to come good as they look to climb higher up the league table.
The Punjab skipper has been in fine form throughout the tournament so far. K.L. Rahul has now scored 313 runs from the last six appearances for his side, which also includes two fifties and a hundred under his belt. His wicket is of high value considering the poor form of the KXIP middle order.
Rahul Tirpathi's recent inclusion to the KKR starting eleven came in as a breath of fresh air. Sunil Narine's poor run of from with the bat up the order, made Dinesh Karthik and the rest of the coaching staff push Tripathi to open the innings. Rahul Tripathi impressed from the word go and has scored 117 runs from the last two games, which includes a 51 ball 81 versus Chennai Super Kings (CSK) recently. Tripathi was rightfully awarded the Player of the Match for his fitting display and will be hungry to score plenty of more runs in the games to follow.
Along with K.L. Rahul, it's Mayank Agarwal who has been one of the rare standouts with the bat in hand. The specialist opener has scored 281 runs form the last six appearances for KXIP, which also includes a fifty, as well as a hundred to his name. Other than that, Agarwal also has a strike rate of 162.42 and is looking as confident as ever this season.
The premium all rounder hasn't fired as expected with the bat for KKR. However, it'll take just one knock for Dre Russ to get back to his brilliant best. The power hitter has scored 560 runs from the last 19 games. Whereas, it's his bowling which has surprisingly impressed with him picking up five wickets from the last five appearances. Andre Russell is one of the finest utility players in the IPL and should not be left out from any side.
There are speculations going around that the ‘Universe Boss' Chris Gayle could finally get some cricketing action for the Kings. Glenn Maxwell has had a forgetful campaign so far and he could be making way for the former West Indies skipper in the starting line up. Gayle has scored 4484 runs from 125 IPL appearances, which includes 28 fifties and six hundreds to his name. Apart from that, he also has a strike rate of 151.02 and is a constant threat to any bowler in the league.
Varun Chakravarthy is going from strength to strength and is turning out to be a real asset with his ‘mystery spin'. Plenty of batsmen are having a hard time picking him up as he has now picked up five wickets from the last four appearances for KKR. The highlight of the season for him however, will be him getting the prized wicket of M.S. Dhoni through a magical delivery that disrupted the stumps.
The wicket keeper batsman finally came good against the Sunrisers Hyderabad as he smashed 77 runs from just 37 deliveries, which included five boundaries and seven sixes. Pooran's stroke making was a positive of all sorts for the Kings as they will need more of such performances in the games to follow. Nicholas Pooran has scored 196 runs from the last six appearances for his side so far.