Navi Mumbai: Kolkata Knight Riders need a big win in their final round-robin match to keep their small IPL play-off hopes alive as Lucknow Super Giants will try to seal their position in the top four when the two teams face each other here on Wednesday.
With seven defeats and six wins, KKR is in sixth place with 12 points and they will not only have to win but do it by a big margin and then hope that other results will find their way to the hope of sneaking in the knock -out rescue phase.
LSG already has one foot in the playoffs as they are in third place with 16 points but with some teams vying for the remaining three places they will try to add two more points to a charge -minute hiccup.
Two-time former champions KKR, who reached the final last year, have managed to keep his theoretical chances alive after coming out well in the last two games against Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Shreyas Iyer’s men rode on Andre RussellThe bowlers’ all-round brilliance and near-perfect execution to take a comprehensive 54-run win over SRH in their final game.
While Russell and Sam Billings increased KKR to 177/6 to take the win, the top order again failed to produce the goods after being reduced to 72 for 3.
Ajinkya RahaneThe struggle at the top was evident as he found it difficult to alternate strikes while also continuing to disappoint Venkatesh Iyer in his second season.
Nitish Rana has been blowing hot and cold while skipper Iyer’s bat has been quiet for the past three games.
KKR also lost pace to spearhead Pat Cummins, who was ruled out due to a hip injury, but it didn’t matter much as the Kolkata outfit put on a stellar bowling effort recently.
Back on the team after recovering from a calf muscle injury, Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee kept things tight as Russell made three crucial wickets.
Spin duo Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy were also in their element and KKR hopes for a new clinical show from their bowling unit.
LSG, on the other hand, is coming into the game after two consecutive defeats and will need to put on an improved show to close things on a high note.
The main concern for LSG is their poor batting show in the last two games, with the batters struggling in the power play against quality bowling.
LSG’s percussion relies heavily on skipper KL Rahul, who took the bulk of the score with two hundred, but he was of color in the last three games.
other opener Quinton de Kockwho has scored three half-centuries has also been sacked for 11 and 7 in the last two games, adding to the team’s woes.
Deepak Hooda, however, was rock solid and it was his fifty who kept LSG chasing in the final game.
Young Ayush Badoni is also eager to prove that he is no miracle of one match, while Krunal Pandya also needs to move up the back of the tournament.
LSG will also strive to make better use of Marcus Stoinis as he is one of the most prolific all-rounders in the world of cricket.
Bowling has proved the weak link for LSG, although Avesh Khan and Jason Holder have delivered 17 and 14 wickets so far, but Mohsin Khan was taken to the cleaners in the final match.
Spinner Ravi Bishnoi took two wickets against Rajasthan Royals and LSG would expect to keep things tight in the center overs on Wednesday.
Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Quinton De Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chameera, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya. Jason Holder.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Aaron Finch, Abhijeet Tomar, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Indrajith, Nitish Rana, Pratham Singh, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer (C), Ashok Sharma, Pat Cummins, Rasikh Dar, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy, Aman Khan, Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohammed Nabi, Ramesh Kumar, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.
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