10 more matches to go, we know for certain that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and
Delhi Capitals (DC) have made it to the playoffs of the Indian Premier League
(IPL) 2019. However, what is still uncertain is who will occupy the remaining
two spots. Barring Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the five other teams are
still in with a shout of making it to the top 4. Two of those teams, Kings XI
Punjab (KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) fight it out for a place at
Mohali to make their case for a place in the playoffs. However, the fact is, a
win for either team may not be good enough to take them there.
According to out Qualification Probability, KKR and KXIP are almost head-to-head when it comes to reaching the playoffs. A win for either side in this match will certainly give their qualification chance a major boost.
about head-to-head, KKR have a clear advantage over their opponents, having won
16 out of their previous 24 meetings in the IPL. At Mohali, both sides have won
three matches apiece.
In this season, both of them made excellent starts to their campaign. KKR had won four out of their opening five matches, while KXIP, had won four out of their opening six matches. Yet KKR and KXIP find themselves languishing at 6th and 7th place respectively. Now, they are in desperate need of points in order to scrape through to the playoffs. It seems to be like the classic story of the hare and the tortoise – where in – both sides seem to be in a long slumber with the finish line in sight.
Despite being on top of the IPL 2019 table, CSK have been quite slow to get off the blocks. They are the only team to have an economy rate of under 6 in powerplays and have the highest dot ball % in the first phase of the innings. KKR and KXIP too should be worried about their batting in this phase as it has not been particularly convincing as they are right next to CSK on both fronts.
Also, KXIP have the highest economy rate in powerplays (9.27) and have picked up the least amount of wickets in this phase (9), behind MI (12), RCB (13) and KKR (14).
Spin the way to go at Mohali?
This season, spinners have done better than the fast bowlers at Mohali. The leg-break bowlers have an economy of 7.42 (SR 23.3), while the off-break bowlers concede 7.65 (29.8) an over. Here’s a look at some of the spinners who have done well at Mohali.
The difference maker
Without a shadow of a doubt, the focus for this match will be on one man – Andre Russell. His impact this season for KKR cannot be underestimated and on several occasions, has single-handedly taken KKR to victory. Nobody has been more destructive than Russell at the death. He is head and shoulders above his teammates when it comes to scoring runs at the death.
Rahul vs Narine: The battle between the in-form KL Rahul and KKR off-spinner Sunil Narine should be an interesting one. Narine has bowled 32 deliveries to Rahul and the stylish opener has hit him for 70 runs. Narine however, has gotten the better of Rahul on a couple of occasions – both in 2018.
Karthik vs Shami: Dinesh Karthik found some form, scoring an unbeaten 97 off 50 couple of matches ago against Rajasthan Royals (RR). The KKR captain has found scoring runs of Mohammed Shami easy, smacking him for 38 runs and has been dismissed only once in 23 deliveries. We may get a chance to see this battle when Karthik comes in during the middle overs and can perhaps take Shami to the cleaners at the death.
Sandeep Warrier played his first game against MI, but given that this is a crucial match for KKR, they might play it safe by playing Prasidh Krishna in his place. Even the option of playing Kuldeep Yadav might not be a bad idea, given that KXIP will have as many as three left-handed batsmen – Chris Gayle, David Miller and Nicholas Pooran in their line-up.
KKR: Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Piyush Chawla/Kuldeep Yadav, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Harry Gurney, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Sandeep Warrier, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill
Given that it was a crunch match against SRH, KXIP decided to play the inexperienced Arshdeep Singh and handed a debut to wicketkeeper-batsman Simran Singh. This experiment could very well stop going into this match, which might see the return of Sarfaraz Khan in the middle-order and maybe add Mandeep Singh into the mix, with either Rahul or Pooran taking over the wicketkeeping duties. Mujeed got belted for 66 runs in the previous match and that could pave way for Sam Curran into the side.
KXIP: Chris Gayle, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, KL Rahul, Murugan Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sam Curran, Arshdeep Singh/Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan