Andre Russell's exploits against Sunrisers Hyderabad will be vital if they have to counter Kings XI Punjab's Gayle force. (Image credit: Twitter)
Kings XI Punjab finally broke their jinx against Rajasthan Royals by winning for the first time at the Sawai Mansingh stadium. However, the match was marred by the Mankading controversy in which Ravichandran Ashwin controversially ran-out Jos Buttler for 69. The reactions and the divisions that has resulted from this controversy will distract the Kings XI Punjab players. However, Ashwin has been clear about what he wanted to do and his strong leadership will be the key if Kings XI Punjab are to make progress into the knock-out stages of the tournament. However, they will be up against the Kolkata Knight Riders, who have a balanced team both with the bat and with the ball.
The battle between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders will also feature a battle between two ferocious West Indies players. Chris Gayle displayed his legendary Twenty20 status by winning the Man of the Match award in his knock of 79 in Jaipur. What was important in Gayle's knock was how he capitalised in the middle overs and this makes him even more dangerous. For Kolkata Knight Riders, they have the power of Andre Russell, who stole the game away from Sunrisers Hyderabad in his vintage fashion.
On an Eden Gardens deck which will assist the pacers in the night, the team might want to boost their pace resource. Lockie Ferguson was good against Sunrisers and he might be the key. For Kings XI Punjab, they might be tempted to get in Andrew Tye in place of Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, KC Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.
Kings XI Punjab: R Ashwin (C), Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Sarfaraz Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, K L Rahul, Ankit Rajpoot, Mandeep Singh, Simran Singh, Mayank Agrawal, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and David Miller.
Who will win?
On paper, both teams are strong but the nature of the wins for both Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, the advantage is with Kolkata Knight Riders. Since the two-time IPL champions will be playing at home, they will be the favorites. However, Kings XI Punjab managed to break one jinx in Jaipur and this will boost them to win this encounter in Eden Gardens.
Weather and pitch
The evening will be around 23 degrees celsius and dew might not be a factor. The match is not expected to be interrupted by the easterlies.
Stadium and timings
The match will be played at the Eden Gardens and the game will start at 8:00 PM IST.