Kolkata Knight Riders have their eyes set on grabbing the number one spot in the IPL 2016 standings, which can be attained if they manage to defeat Kings XI Punjab at PCA Stadium in Mohali. But, it is not going to be easy, with Kings XI having the ammunition and desire to win back-to-back matches in the IPL this season.
The Kings XI batsmen were superb in their win against the Rising Pune Supergiants, but they need an all-round performance, with bowlers also standing tall in Mohali. The match could well be a battle between the openers of KKR and Kings XI Punjab on a batting track.
KKR openers â€“ Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa â€“ have been batting together for the team for some time, and have been quite impressive in IPL 2016. Kings XI openers, Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra have been outstanding in the competition so far. Vijay and Vohra have been involved in partnerships of more than 70 runs in two of their three matches this season.
Vijay also praised Vohra for his last innings, where he scored 51 runs, and hopes that they can provide some more solid starts for the team in IPL 2016.
"His (Vohra) style is similar to my batting style as well. He is technically sound and all I wanted was for him to go and express himself and I will take the responsibility and anchor the innings. I hope we can continue playing like this in the matches to come," IPL official website quoted Vijay as saying.
Despite their victory against MS Dhoni's team in the last game, Vijay does not want to think too ahead, but rather focus on one game at a time.
"We would like to carry the momentum forward. We just want to do well and take it match by match. That is more important rather than seeing too far ahead in the tournament; just relax yourself, back your instincts and game plan. Stick to it and perform as consistently as possible," Vijay said.
Though the openers might have been consistent, their middle order has been a bit shaky. Glenn Maxwell, who scored 32 runs in the last game, and David Miller are yet to hit top gear. Wriddhiman Saha has also not done his bit with the bat in the competition. However, their bowlers like Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma have been decent, and will need to be on top form against the strong batting order of KKR.
Gambhir and Uthappa will hold the key for KKR in their batting department. Both the KKR openers play good cricketing shots to score runs, and hardly gives their wicket away, while scoring at a decent pace.
KKR assistant coach, Simon Katich believes having Gambhir and Uthappa at the top of the order helps their team.
"To have those two (Gambhir and Uthappa), who have batted together a fair bit, helps. They're comfortable knowing that that is their role for their team and they're comfortable playing that role day in and day out. That probably takes a bit of pressure off knowing that they're settled there," Cricbuzz quoted Katich as saying.
"There's no doubt that the openers have a big advantage in this form of the game. They get to bat when the field is up, they get to settle in in the first few overs and if they settle in and get some boundaries away then all of a sudden they can do some damage in the middle overs where it is harder to find the boundaries. Fortunately, for us our top order is in good form."
In Manish Pandey and Andre Russell, they have batsmen, who can score quick runs when required. It is not only their batsmen, but their quality mix of spin and fast bowlers, which might give them a slight edge in Mohali. Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel and Russell will want to shine with the ball, and help KKR script another win in IPL 2016.
Where to watch live
Kings XI Punjab vs KKR IPL 2016 matchâ€“ is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. IST (3:30 a.m. BST, 10:30 a.m. ET). Live TV coverage of the Kings XI Punjab vs KKR IPL 2016 match will be on Sony Max, Sony Six/HD, Sony ESPN/HD. Online options are available on Hotstar and Starsports.com.
Viewers in the US can watch Kings XI Punjab vs KKR IPL 2016 match on ESPN, while the game can also be live streamed on Watch ESPN. Sportsnet and viewers in Canada can watch the Kings XI Punjab vs KKR IPL 2016 match on Watch Sportsnet
OSN Sports Cricket will show Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders game live in the Middle East and North Africa, while all the action can also be watched via live streaming online on OSN Cricket Play.
Supersport and Supersport Live Video will broadcast Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders game live in South Africa.
Viewers from across the world, around 133 countries, can watch the IPL 2016 match live online on Cricketgateway.