May 27 (): Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) meet Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) in the first Qualifier of the play offs in IPL 7.
KKR on a roll with 7 wins on the trot which includes one against Kings XI Punjab. They could have easily finished on top had they won the two close encounters against Rajasthan Royals. The team can boast of a balance in both bowling and batting which either Chennai Super Kings or KXIP cannot do.
The batting is led by Robin Uthappa who has scored 40 and above in his last 8 innings. He is the orange cap holder – the highest run getter in IPL 7 currently with 613 runs at an average of 47 and his breathtaking stroke play will be an asset in today’s game. He along with Gambhir has given stability at the top of the order making it easy for the remaining batsmen to play their natural game.
Shakib who was unable to contribute with the bat for the first 10 games has been among the runs lately. Not only has he scored significantly, but also quickly by clearing the in-field easily and at times over the rope. He has also been an asset in the bowling unit by claiming 10 wickets at an economy of only 6.3 and being the perfect partner for Narine.
Narine who has been wonderful in all the IPLs he has played has been excellent this season. He is the purple cap holder – the highest wicket taker in IPL 7 with 20 wickets at an astounding economy rate of 5.9 runs per over. Both Narine and Shakib have ensured the opponents do not run away with the game in the middle overs and have also ensured the death overs do not go for big runs.
KXIP will hope they win the toss so that they can do what they are best at – Chase. Every time they have batted first they have struggled and have not been able to put up a great score, but when chasing they have been successful even clearing 200+ totals with ease.
Maxwell is the third highest run getter this season and Miller too is part of the top 6. It is the bowling they will be worried about as they are prone to give away many runs if the wickets are not conducive.
It should be a great battle between bat and ball today and both teams will be expecting the rain , which has been persistent since Sunday, to keep away on match day. Also the team winning the toss will look to field first as both teams have had more success chasing than batting first.
The advantage for both teams is that the one who loses still has an opportunity to fight for a spot in the finals, but they would want to do it right the first time.