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KKR, Pune clash in bid for top-two finish

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Bangar: Pune's improved bowling effort showing on the points table (4:20)

Rising Pune Supergiant have improved their bowling in their last six games this season, compared to the initial four. The Match Day experts break it down for us (4:20)

Match facts

Kolkata Knight Riders v Rising Pune Supergiant
Kolkata, May 3, 2017
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Head-to-head

This season: Robin Uthappa's 47-ball 87 helped Knight Riders hunt down a target of 183 with 11 balls remaining at the MCA Stadium in Pune.

Overall: Knight Riders have chased and won in each of their three matches against Rising Pune.

In the news

Lynn, who has been out of action since dislocating his left shoulder while fielding against Mumbai Indians on April 9, trained with the Knight Riders squad on Tuesday. He hopes to return before the playoffs, Lynn told cricket.com.au, possibly against Kings XI Punjab on May 9 or against Mumbai on May 13.

Shakib Al Hasan has only played once for Knight Riders this season, and the match against Rising Pune is likely to be his last chance for game-time: he is set to leave the tournament on Thursday to join Bangladesh's training camp in Sussex ahead of a triangular ODI series in Ireland, which also involves New Zealand.

Knight Riders are on 14 points and Rising Pune on 12. The team that wins this clash will fancy a top-two finish, and two shots at a spot in the final.

The likely XIs

Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Sunil Narine, 2 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Sheldon Jackson, 7 Colin de Grandhomme/Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Kuldeep Yadav.

Rising Pune Supergiant: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 MS Dhoni (wk), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Jaydev Unadkat, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Imran Tahir.

Strategy punt

Rising Pune have scored quicker against pace (8.97 per over) than spin (7.32) this season, and the gap is particularly exaggerated in the case of MS Dhoni, who has scored at 8.15 against pace and 5.28 against spin. Knight Riders have tended to go with pace-dominated attacks this season, especially at Eden Gardens, which has provided an unusual amount of seam movement and bounce. But given their opposition, and Dhoni in particular, they might think of a spin-for-seam swap in the allrounder department, with Shakib Al Hasan coming in for Colin de Grandhomme.

Stats that matter

  • Rising Pune lost three of their first four matches of the tournament, and have won five out of six since then. Their rise has coincided with a marked improvement in their bowling. In their first four games, their bowlers averaged 38.15, gave away 9.41 an over, and conceded a boundary every 4.76 balls. In the period since then, they have topped the tournament in terms of average (21.61) and economy rate (7.69), while only conceding a boundary every 6.68 balls.

  • They have become better both in the first six overs - their economy rate has dropped from 10.00 to 7.50 - and in the last five - 13.00 to 8.03.

  • The inclusion of Jaydev Unadkat has made a difference to their bowling in both these critical phases. In Pune's last six matches, the left-arm quick has a Powerplay economy rate of 7.80 and an economy rate of 7.92 in the last five overs. He has been helped by Washington Sundar in the first six overs (6.37) and Daniel Christian in the last five (6.66)

  • MS Dhoni has had a difficult time against Sunil Narine in T20s, scoring only 29 off 58 balls, while being dismissed once.

  • Chris Woakes has been Knight Riders' joint-highest wicket-taker this season with 11, but his wickets have come at a price. His economy rate of 9.65 is the second worst among all bowlers who have bowled 20 or more overs this season, with only Lasith Malinga proving more expensive.