This is almost the bang middle of the IPL, and we have finally have two in-form sides clashing in a high voltage encounter at the MCA Stadium in Pune. The Kolkata Knightriders travel to Pune to take on the Supergiants, who are on something of a winning streak with three straight victories, including the last two against top of the table teams SRH and MI. With their three run victory against MI at Wankhede on Monday, Steve Smith’s side ended MI’s six match unbeaten run. On the other hand, KKR are coming off their crushing victory against the RCB, who they bowled out for 49, the lowest score in IPL’s history, to win by 82 runs.
— RisingPuneSupergiant (@RPSupergiants) April 26, 2017
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) April 26, 2017
Knight Riders will be without Aussie seamer Nathan Coulter-Nile, who took three wickets against the RCB in the last game. The 29-year old seamer has not travelled with the team to Pune, with captain Gautam Gambhir citing workload management as the reason. Coulter-Nile’s absence will mean either Shakib Al Hasan or Trent Boult could return to the team. Colin de Grandhomme hasn’t fired with the bat but his three-wicket haul on Sunday has boosted his chances of retaining his place.
Meanwhile, the RPS squad looks pretty solid. Rahane seemed to briefly rediscover his sublime shots, and his opening half century stand with Manoj Tripathi was instrumental in the side posting a competitive 160 against the Mumbai Indians. All rounder Ben Stokes was brilliant with the ball, and also put on some runs with the bat to win the Man-of-the-Match award on Monday night. The RPS side will be hoping their bowling fires again, with much expected off Tahir and Unadkat.
Head to Head
Matches played – 2, Rising Pune Supergiant Won – 0, Kolkata Knight Riders Won – 2
When and Where:
MCA Stadium, Pune, 2000 IST 26th April
The likely XIs
Rising Pune Supergiants 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Ben Stokes, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Dan Christian, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Jaydev Unadkat
Kolkata Knight Riders 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Trent Boult/Shakib Al Hasan, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
- The MCA Stadium has favored spinners this season, who have given away runs at only 6.97 runs per over, as compared to seamers who have gone for 9.50 runs per over. The strike rate has an even wider gulf – spinners have taken a wicket every 19.42 runs, versus the pacers who have a wicket every 42.61 runs. RPS will expect their star leggie Imran Tahir and off-spinner Washington Sundar to fire today, while the KKR will be relying on Yusuf Pathan to deliver.
- Overall in the IPL, Sunil Narine smashes spin at a strike-rate of 233 but pace at only 126. But this season, with his promotion to opener for KKR, he has smashed fast bowlers for 93 runs off 53 deliveries. So perhaps there is a case for Rising Pune to take pace off the ball and use Imran Tahir or Washington Sundar against him.
- The MCA Stadium has been a high-scoring venue; the team batting first has scored in excess of 175 in 5 of the last 7 IPL matches played at the venue. The toss will be important today, as the team batting first might press advantage of a big target in the second innings.