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Kings XI face first of three must-wins

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KKR's brave strategic punts paying off (4:18)

Sanjay Bangar and Aakash Chopra take a look at some of the tactics used by Kolkata Knight Riders through IPL 2017 which have reaped rich dividends (4:18)

Match facts

Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders
Mohali, May 9, 2017
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Head-to-head

Overall: Kolkata Knight Riders command a comprehensive 14-6 lead over Kings XI Punjab. Knight Riders have won eight games in a row against Kings XI since 2014.

This season: Sunil Narine's Powerplay blitz, followed by Gautam Gambhir's unbeaten 72, helped Knight Riders chase down 171 with eight wickets in hand and 21 balls to spare.

In the news

Kings XI will be without Hashim Amla, who scored his second century of the season on Sunday. Amla and David Miller have left for national duties. Either allrounder Darren Sammy or fast bowler Matt Henry is likely to replace Amla, considering Australian allrounder Marcus Stoinis was ruled out of the IPL with a shoulder injury last week.

Robin Uthappa is still being monitored by the Knight Riders medical staff. There's no confirmation on whether fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile will be available for selection either.

Qualification scenario

For Kings XI to make the top four, they will need to win their remaining three games, and then hope that other results go their way. If Sunrisers lose their remaining fixture against Gujarat Lions, then Kings XI will make the cut with 16 points, but Rising Pune could also be pushed out if they lose their remaining two matches and Sunrisers win their last game. Rising Pune have a NRR of -0.060 compared to Kings XI's 0.242, so any situation that comes down to run rates will clearly favour Kings XI.

Knight Riders are tied on 16 points with Rising Pune Supergiant, and are in second place by virtue of a better net run-rate. A win will help them create a two-point gap in the battle for a spot in the first qualifier.

The likely XIs

Kings XI Punjab: 1 Manan Vohra, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Glenn Maxwell (capt), 5 Gurkeerat Singh, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Matt Henry/Darren Sammy, 9 Mohit Sharma, 10 Varun Aaron/T Natarajan, 11 Sandeep Sharma

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

Strategy punt

Glenn Maxwell might bowl with the new ball if Sunil Narine opens the batting again - he has conceded only 26 runs in 31 balls against the left-hander in previous meetings, and has dismissed him twice.

However, when he had brought himself on in the Powerplay against Knight Riders in their last meeting, he was taken for 18 runs. To avoid an encore, Varun Aaron's pace and bounce could be utilised instead.

Stats that matter

  • Wriddhiman Saha (11.25 in eight innings) has the second-worst average among batsmen who've played more than five innings in the top seven. He is led and trailed by Royal Challengers Bangalore's Shane Watson (11.16 in six innings) and Knight Riders' Colin de Grandhomme (14.33 in six) respectively.

  • Kings XI's recent success is down to drastic improvements in bowling: in the first six games, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Axar Patel had taken 15 wickets at an economy of 8.71 and an average of 38.06. In the last five, they've taken 23 wickets with an economy of 7.48 and an average of 16.00.

  • Glenn Maxwell has also chipped in to Kings XI's improved bowling - he has taken six wickets at an economy of 5.92 in their last five games.

  • Gautam Gambhir has hit Maxwell for 42 runs from 24 balls.

  • Maxwell has been dismissed thrice by Umesh Yadav in 19 balls, and twice by Narine in 31 balls. He scores at less than a run-a-ball against both of them.