Pune: KXIP lost their previous game to Delhi Daredevils (DD) who finally managed to win their first game in IPL 2015. Once again, the KXIP openers provided the quick start but the middle-order failed to back it up. Both Glenn Maxwell and David Miller are yet to fire and it remains to be a worry for KXIP going ahead. Anureet Singh and Sandeep Sharma are bowling well at the top but their bowling after that has been very weak. Mitchell Johnson has blown hot and cold and KXIP will want him to step up and perform.
KXIP won their first game in IPL 2015 when they defeated Mumbai Indians at their home in Mumbai. They were tested by the home bowlers but George Bailey stepped up to score his maiden IPL fifty to help them post a challenging total. Harbhajan Singh was spirited in his innings but he could not get Mumbai off the mark.
Facing a batting line-up like that of KKR— which is firing on all cylinders—Kings XI Punjab will hope they can continue their impressive new ball work but also back it up with better bowling in the middle overs to not let the opposition get away with game. They might look to play the spinner Karanveer Singh in place of Rishi Dhawan since both Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir got good purchase from the wicket in the home game for KXIP against DD.
KKR had an impressive start winning two in two games but are coming off a close loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore who had Chris Gayle anchoring the chase for them. Their spinners did not get purchase from the surface and that is an area they are not used to being tested at. They will hope their bowlers can put in a better performance and back the batting line-up which is starting to gel well as a team.
Sunil Narine‘s form remains to key for them going further into the tournament. Ever since he has remodeled his bowling action, there have been questions over his effectiveness and he will want to brush off his critics with good performances. Shakib Al Hasan has returned for national duty in Bangladesh and KKR will have to find a replacement for him. They have options in Johan Botha and Azhar Mahmood, both of whom are experienced enough to make an impact right away.
KKR seldom make changes to their team and but they might be tempted to bring back Umesh Yadav into the playing eleven. Robin Uthappa had the Orange Cap last year but has not quite taken off in similar fashion. He will want to get going with a good score. There were some fitness issues for Gambhir but he is fit and was back to training for this particular game. Expect a cracking contest.