It’s crunch time in the Indian Premier League. Table-topping Kings XI Punjab and buoyant Kolkata Knight Riders are the first to battle it out in a qualifier.
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Date: Tuesday, May 26
Time: 3:30 p.m. BST, 8 p.m. local time
Live on: Sony Six, Star Sports HD, Star Sports 1 (India), ITV4 (United Kingdom), SuperSport (South Africa), OSN (UAE), SkyTV (New Zealand), Network Ten (Australia), Channel 9 (Bangladesh), Sportsnet and Omni (Canada), Sports Max (West Indies), Geo Super (Pakistan) and Starhub (Singapore).
Weather: The news from the weather front is not great. Although it will be hot, AccuWeather predicts heavy thunderstorms for much of Tuesday. As it stands, the forecast is clear for the time the match is due to start, but brace yourself for the possibility of interruptions.
After weeks of thrills and spills it has all come down to this. One team has a chance to progress directly into the final of this year's edition of the IPL.
Those who have faith in momentum will fancy KKR for this one. Kolkata have racked up a seven-match winning streak, their longest ever in the IPL. Kings XI have been the team to beat this season and lost just three out of their 14 games in the group stages. One of those losses was just a couple of weeks ago against KKR. Punjab lost by nine wickets as KKR began their winning streak.
KKR’s wins have boasted some impressive performances, but none more destructive than that of Yusuf Pathan’s 72 off just 22 balls. He had not batted much in the rest of the tournament, but having that kind of destruction in your line-up is quite a confidence boost.
Kolkata are also the only team to have knocked two teams out directly, getting rid of both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Hyderabad; another injection for morale.
But Kings XI are not without their own power hitters and destruction. Glenn Maxwell and David Miller have accumulated almost 1,000 runs between them, both averaging over 40.00.
As far as top quality qualifiers go, this match should be one to remember. Kolkata hold the advantages of playing on their home turf and one of the fiercest bowling line-ups in the competition. Kings XI have the confidence that they can go on to achieve anything after the way they have performed this season. So, buckle up and get ready for a thrilling ride.
The only thing that could possibly ruin the showdown is the weather. Some thunderstorms are forecast for earlier in the day, but they should clear. However, in the event of a no result, the following will apply, according to Cricinfo:
- The relevant teams shall compete in a Super Over to determine which team is the winner of the match in question; and
- If conditions do not permit a Super Over within the time available to determine the winner or if the Super Over is tied, then the team which, at the end of the relevant regular season, finished in the higher position in the league table will be deemed the winner of the relevant play-off match.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Robin Uthappa has scored over 600 runs at an average of 47.15. While KKR can always have faith in their bowling line-up, Uthappa's batting will be crucial.
Kings XI Punjab
One of the things that make Glenn Maxwell so remarkable is that he cares not for milestones. Although that's handy when players can "just go out and express themselves" he needs to make sure he keeps his head this time out.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir (capt.), Manvinder Bisla, Piyush Chawla, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Jacques Kallis, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Sayan Mondal, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Veer Pratap Singh, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Robin Uthappa, Vinay Kumar and Suryakumar Yadav.
Kings XI Punjab
George Bailey (capt.), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Virender Sehwag, Mitchell Johnson, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhaman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, Rishi Dhawan, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Akshar Patel, Beuran Hendricks, Karanveer Singh, Murali Kartik, Shivam Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Laxmipathy Balaji, Parvinder Awana, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Mandeep Singh.
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