Kings XI Punjab will hope to create another upset when they travel to Kolkata to face KKR in an IPL 2016 match at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. Both teams snapped losing streaks in their last games to get a bit of confidence going.
While KKR lost two matches in a row before chasing down a total against RCB in spectacular circumstances, Gautam Gambhir's men are still in a very strong position to finish the league phase of the season in the top four. KKR currently lie third in the table with five wins, and another victory against KXIP will take them back to the top spot.
That should be more than enough motivation for the players to bring their A-Game, with another one being, no doubt, performing in front of their own fans. KKR, after starting the season with two home games, have played their last six away from home, and it will please Gambhir that his team won four of those six matches.
However, their last game at home, back on April 13, ended up being a loss, courtesy a wonderful half-century from Mumbai Indians Rohit Sharma. Therefore, the IPL 2014 champions have a point to prove when they host the Kings XI Punjab, a team they beat in that away run.
KXIP, at that time, were struggling to find their rhythm in the tournament, with that loss proving to be their third in four matches. They have lost two more since, but the new skipper Murali Vijay and the rest of the squad will look to the impressive win over the Gujarat Lions as inspiration for a solid performance against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Bowling was the key in that match for KXIP, with the men with the white cherry stopping the formidable top order batting of the Gujarat Lions in their tracks. KKR are also built on a solid top order – they do have a better middle and lower order, however – and if Kings XI can find the right lines and lengths against the home team, they might just come out smiling in the end.
With seven more games to go, Kings XI cannot afford too many more dropped points – they can maybe lose one more game, and that is a big maybe – and finding a winning run is what is required if they are to harbour hopes of finishing in the top four, something the players are well aware of.
"We are probably better than the results we have to show at the moment," KXIP bowler Kyle Abbott, one of the players to disappoint this season, was quoted as saying by IPL's official website. "It is important to get off to a good start and unfortunately we didn't.
"Last year Mumbai didn't start off well but took off later and this year they have done it again. They didn't start well but at the moment, they are sitting comfortably at the top of the table. It is important to get momentum and get off to a good start, though the tournament allows you a bit of grace to find your rhythm later on.
"We still have seven games left and all to play for to get into a playoffs position."
Where to Watch Live on TV and Online
KKR vs Kings XI Punjab is scheduled for an 8 p.m. IST (3.30 p.m. BST, 10.30 a.m. ET) start. Below are the TV and Live Streaming options.
USA: TV: ESPN. Live streaming: Watch ESPN.
Canada: TV: Sportsnet. Live Streaming: Watch Sportsnet.
Middle East and North Africa: TV: OSN Sports Cricket. Live Streaming: OSN Cricket Play.
South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: TV: Supersport. Live Streaming: Supersport Live Video.
International (ROW): Cricketgateway.