After one win and a loss in their previous two matches, Kolkata Knight Riders host Kings XI Punjab in their first home game of IPL 10 at Eden Gardens.
However, for the first time maybe, it will not be SRK who will be the cynosure of all eyes, but KKR’s new heart throb – Chris Lynn’s availability. Though any official word is yet to come regarding Lynn’s extent of injury, speculations suggest he will definitely miss this encounter, and perhaps the entire IPL too.
Therefore we take a look at KKR’s probable XI against Kings XI, who are still undefeated in the competition.
OPENERS: Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa
Lynn’s shoulder injury is all set to force the Knights to revert back to their old opening combination. KKR will definitely miss Lynnsanity as the top of the order, but Gambhir-Uthappa, being their most prolific opening pair across all the seasons, can fill his void. While Gambhir will look forward to repeat his first match heroics, Uthappa will relish the challenge of facing the new ball once again.
MIDDLE ORDER: Manish Pandey, Darren Bravo/Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav
The middle order is also slated for a change with either Darren Bravo or Shakib replacing Lynn. While the remaining trio of Pandey, Pathan and Yadav are expected to retain their places, it remains to be seen whether KKR go for a like-for-like replacement in Bravo or favour the all-round option of Shakib. However, considering the Eden strip may offer more purchase for quicks, we cannot rule out the inclusion of Kiwi all rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
ALL ROUNDERS: Chris Woakes
In Russell’s absence, Woakes will continue to be the main all-rounder in the side, but will surely feel the heat after not performing well in the first two matches. Having proved his merit while playing for the national side, Woakes will hope that KKR’s home ground brings about a change in both his conduct with the willow and the ball.
SPINNERS: Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav
Though Narine’s ‘mystery’ is a thing of the past, but the Caribbean and Kuldeep were their KKR’s best bowlers against Mumbai Indians. Kuldeep has performed remarkably well to cement his place in the side, but Narine seems to have lost his sting. Nevertheless, he would like to get back his mojo against KXIP, the very same team, against whom he recorded a hat-trick in IPL 2013.
PACERS: Trent Boult and Umesh Yadav
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) April 11, 2017
After what we witnessed in the India-New Zealand test match at Eden Gardens last year, Trent Boult and Umesh Yadav would be raring to bowl on the 22-yard. The Kiwi pacer has conceded over ten an over for both the previous matches, but the Eden strip can be a perfect opportunity to prove his critics wrong. He started off well against MI, but could not withstand the pressure of bowling the 19th over of the innings. Meanwhile, KKR would heave a sigh of relief with Umesh coming back. These two bowling in tandem have the potential to destroy any formidable batting line-up.