Two teams coming off impressive wins, two teams desperate for another victory for different reasons â€“ Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab should be a cracking IPL 2016 match. KKR return to the Eden Gardens after a long away stretch and Gautam Gambhir's men will relish picking up a second consecutive win in IPL 2016, when they step out in front of their own fans.
Looking dead and buried, KKR fashioned a win from the jaws of defeat as Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell went into tonk town at the Chinnaswamy Stadium against RCB. That was a much-needed victory for KKR, because another loss would have meant a third consecutive IPL 2016 defeat.
However, the momentum will be with them now, having picked up that big win over RCB, and while changing a winning side is never a great idea, KKR might consider making a few, considering they are back at home, under different conditions.
The Eden Gardens pitch is one that always helps the slower bowlers, whenever KKR and the IPL come calling, so Gambhir and Jacques Kallis might consider bringing an extra spinner in.
Kuldeep Yadav could be brought in for Umesh Yadav, who was extremely expensive in the match against RCB, or Chris Lynn could make way for one of Shakib Al Hasan or Brad Hogg. There is also a chance that Morne Morkel could sit, with Hogg coming in, so that the batting is not weakened.
With Manish Pandey returning to the playing XI from chicken pox, the KKR batting lineup looks a lot deeper, emphasised by the fact that the team chased down a big score despite losing four relatively quick wickets.
Kings XI Punjab picked up a much-needed win in their last game, trumping the Gujarat Lions as their bowlers came to the fore. While the batting was not the greatest, KXIP fought their way to 154, before the bowlers did the business in style.
Axar Patel was the main man, finishing with four wickets, which included a hat-trick, and with the others chipping in as well, bowling changes to the playing XI are not expected.
That means the only change for the Kings XI Punjab to consider is who will replace Shaun Marsh for this match. Marsh has been ruled out of IPL 2016 with a back injury, and while Hashim Amla has been identified as the replacement, this game will come too early for the South African. His compatriot Farhaan Behardien, however, could finally get a look-in.
Expected playing XI: KKR: Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine.
KXIP: Murali Vijay (C), Marcus Stoinis, Wriddhiman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, Sandeep Sharma.