KKR look to stop high-flying Punjab

KKR look to stop high-flying Punjab

The erratic Kolkata Knight Riders will look to challenge the seemingly unstoppable force of table-toppers Kings XI Punjab when the two sides clash in an IPL match here on Sunday.

The last time the two sides faced off, it turned out to be a low-scoring affair but even in that Punjab came out trumps after doing the job well with the ball.

But given the sparkling form the duo of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller are in, KKR’s bowlers are likely to be put to the sword at the Barabati stadium.

On paper, it looks a lop-sided contest given that Punjab have a batting line-up, which  has been in marauding form. If Maxwell and Miller were not a big enough headache to deal with for rival teams, out-of-form veteran Virender Sehwag is also slowly rediscovering his touch.

In fact, batting alone makes Punjab an intimidating side to take on and more so for KKR, a team struggling to find its feet even though the win over Delhi Daredevils in its previous match has come as a morale-booster.

For once, Kolkata’s batting clicked with skipper Gautam Gambhir leading the way with a half-century. Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey also did their bits to take KKR to an elusive win over Daredevils and they would be keen to carry that form into the match against Punjab.

Narine factor

On the bowling front, KKR can draw some confidence form the fact that they managed to restrict Punjab’s marauding batsmen the last time the two teams clashed against each other. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine would once again be their trump card.

Punjab, on the other hand, would be relying on batsmen to come good yet again and keep the pressure off bowlers, who, to their credit, have not done too badly.

Pacer Sandeep Sharma has been in consistent form and is currently third in the list of top wicket-takers this season after scalping 13 in six matches.

After a slow start, even Australian import Mitchell Johnson is in decent form now.

In the initial part of the tournament Johnson struggled to cope with the slowness of the pitches in UAE, but in Indian pitches the left-arm paceman has showed some signs of regaining his lethal touch of the summer.

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