IPL 2020, KKR vs KXIP Preview: Rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab look to dethrone KKR from top four
Kings XI Punjab has roared back to form and are on the verge of changing the course of the tournament. They ended their five-match losing streak with a win over Royal Challengers Bangalore two weeks ago. Since then, the KL Rahul side has been on a four-match winning streak. KXIP will aim to keep the juggernaut rolling when they lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah on Monday. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)
As the race to the playoffs is intensifying, both sides are aware of the value of a win. The contest is a mid-table clash as KKR and KXIP are placed fourth and fifth respectively. A win for KKR will take them to 14 points but if KXIP come out as winners, they will peep into the top four.
Before KL Rahul & Co got into the groove with four wins on the trot, a lot was spoken about their bowling unit. But on Saturday, KXIP bowlers proved that they have enough fuel in the tank. With fantastic spells from Chris Jordan and Arshdeep Singh, KXIP ran through Sunrisers batting in the death overs and defended 126 runs taking five wickets in the final two overs.
KXIP have some of the dynamic batsmen in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. The return of Chris Gayle has inspired them heavily while Nicholas Pooran has looked dangerous as well. Concern remains Glenn Maxwell’s dipping form. He hasn’t been able to hit a single six this season
Agarwal missed the match against SRH due to a bruised knee, but the opener is expected to be back for the clash against KKR.
KKR will also be all charged up following their clinical win over the Delhi Capitals. They need to keep the winning momentum going. Promoted to open the innings, Nitish Rana was right on the money with a whirlwind 81 and shared a 115-run match-winning stand with Sunil Narine. Leg- spinner Varun Chakravarthy was the bowling lynchpin who tore apart the DC middle-order with a five-wicket haul.
In order to seal a playoff berth, KKR need to work on the top-order and shrug off their inconsistencies. The bowlers have been exceptional so far and the addition of Lockie Fergusen has only strengthened the pace attack, which also includes Australian Pat Cummins.