With race for the top four spots heating up, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will clash with Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Match 46 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday (October 26). This is a crucial encounter as the winner of this match will occupy the crucial fourth spot in the IPL 2020 table. The last time these two teams met, KKR eked out a narrow two-run win in Abu Dhabi.
KXIP have been in excellent form, having won four matches in a row, while KKR have been struggling to maintain any sort of winning momentum going, having won just two of their last five matches, but their 59-run win over Delhi Capitals (DC) in the previous match would give them a lot of confidence.
KKR, however, have an excellent record over KXIP, having won 18 out of the 26 encounters between them. Even in the recent encounters, KKR have won four out of five, with KXIP’s last win coming in April 2018 at the Eden Gardens.
HEAD-TO-HEAD IN IPL
Overall: Matches – 26 | KKR – 18 Wins | KXIP – 8 Wins
Last 5 matches: KKR – 4 Wins | KXIP – 1 Win
Suggested TeamWhile you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com's Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
Sharjah is no longer a ground where the batsmen dominate, but the bowlers too have had a say in the last few matches. Sharjah has seen teams scoring 200-plus and also registering scores of under 100. In fact, Sharjah’s average first innings score of 191 is the highest of the three venues, while the average target chased is 176.
The batting run-rate at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium of 9.1 is the highest among all three venues, which is not that surprising. Sharjah also has the highest runs per wicket ratio (33.8) and when it comes to the balls per ratio Sharjah (22.2) is marginally worse off than Dubai (21.9) but slightly better than Abu Dhabi (22.5).
Out of the first six matches at Sharjah, only once has a team won chasing. However, in the last three matches at the venue, the teams batting second have gone onto register easy victories. With the track slowing down and something in it for the pacers early on – like Mumbai Indians (MI) showed in their previous match – the team winning the toss might decide to bowl first.
The surface at Sharjah has seen the highest percentage of wickets by the pacers and the lowest from the spinners. While it is advisable to stock your team with pacers, you should not rule out the possibility of bringing in at least one quality spinner. Both KXIP and KKR have quality in that department.
There could also be a few interesting match-ups to look forward to.
KXIP’s star from their previous match Chris Jordan has had a mixed IPL 2020 so far, but his team will be delighted that he is coming to the party just at the right time. Eoin Morgan, however, has the upper hand over Jordan having never been dismissed by his international teammate in T20s and has struck at a strike-rate of 167.7. Given that the match is in Sharjah, it will be interesting to see if Jordan does stop Morgan from clearing the smallish boundaries.
While Sunil Narine has terrorised many a batsmen, he does not seem to have any affect on KL Rahul, who has scored 112 runs from just 53 deliveries against the KKR tweaker. Moreover, one in three balls Narine has bowled to Rahul has resulted in a boundary. Narine’s only consolation is that he has dismissed Rahul a couple of times in T20s.
Since Chris Gayle’s return to the fold, the burden on Rahul and Mayank Agarwal has reduced to a certain extent. From KKR’s perspective, Pat Cummins has not been as consistent as they would have liked to but has been improving with each passing game. He will certainly look to continue that against Gayle, who he has dismissed just once in six games and conceded runs at a strike-rate of almost 200.
No batsman has been more consistent than KL Rahul this season. He has six 50-plus scores from 11 innings and strikes at 133.41. The Orange Cap holder has scored three fifties from his five innings and has also led his side to four wins on the bounce. Rahul is also a safe wicketkeeper, having pouched five catches in his last four matches, further indicating that he is the right man to lead your fantasy team. The momentum is certainly with KXIP and Rahul will look to cash in on it.
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Rahul could score 17-40 runs in this match
Sunil Narine returned to the KKR XI with a bang, smashing 64 off 32, batting at No. 5, ahead of his skipper Eoin Morgan. Even though Narine did not pick up any wicket, he could come good against KXIP, who have a couple have a couple of big-hitting left-handed batsmen like Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran. His five wickets at 43 this season is not good enough to be picked solely as a bowler, but as an allrounder, he might be a good pick.
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Narine could score 10-33 runs and pick up 1-2 wickets in this match
Varun Chakravarthy bamboozled the Delhi Capitals batsmen the other night with his accurate lines and lengths, in which he finished with his maiden five-wicket haul. With that spell, the Bidar-born spinner has become the leading wicket-taker for KKR in the tournament. Many players are coming to the fore just at the right time and Chakravarthy was certainly one of them. He will hope to keep it going in this match too. If you are to pick only one spinner, we suggest you go with Chakravarthy for this match
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Chakravarthy could pick up 1-2 wickets in this match
This IPL has seen many youngsters take a huge leap and perform well under immense pressure at the highest level. KXIP’s left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh is no different. Having picked up nine wickets at 18.44, the 21-year-old has shown immense maturity, especially bowling in the death, a phase in which he picked up all three wickets against SRH to hand his side a win in a low-scoring match.
According to our Criclytics Player Projector, Arshdeep could pick up 0-1 wickets in this match