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42nd Match (N), Eden Gardens, April 26, 2024, Indian Premier League
(18.4/20 ov, T:262) 262/2

PBKS won by 8 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
108* (48)
Cricinfo's MVP
158.41 ptsImpact List

Do Punjab Kings have the batting muscle to match KKR at Eden Gardens?

KKR have been one of the form teams this season, while Punjab Kings, down in ninth place, have failed to bat at the speeds other teams have

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan

Match details

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR; 2nd place) vs Punjab Kings (PBKS; 9th place)
Eden Gardens, Kolkata, 7:30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture - Best bowling side at batters' paradise

Punjab Kings (PBKS) have many issues to solve, but despite IPL 2024 being dominated by batters, bowling is not one of them.
PBKS are the only side not to concede 200 or more in an innings yet - 199, twice, is the most scored against them. Their bowling average of 24.94 is the best among all the teams this season, with Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) 25.47 next in line. At the death (overs 17 to 20), PBKS have struck 23 times, the most by a team in IPL 2024, and their average in that phase (15.73) is again the best. They have been the third-most economical bowling team (8.98) this season too.
Now they are at a venue - Eden Gardens - where 200 has been crossed in both innings in three of the four matches so far. It has been the venue with the third-highest scoring rate (10.43) this season, with Hyderabad (10.92) and Delhi (11.48) ahead.
All of which brings the PBKS batters into sharp focus. They are the second-slowest scoring team (with a strike rate of 137.31) and also have the second-lowest batting average (23.84). None of their batters have totalled 200 yet, even though 24 batters have crossed the mark - Shashank Singh with 195 runs is their leading scorer.
KKR have not been an easy side to either score against or bowl to this season. They are favourites here. So PBKS have to score bigger than they have so far and expect the bowlers to do what they have been doing, in KKR's den. Not to forget, PBKS have only won three of their 12 games - only one in the last eight - at Eden Gardens.

Form guide

KKR WLWLW (last five matches, most recent first)

Team news and impact player strategy

Kolkata Knight Riders: KKR have subbed out a batter for a fast bowler or a spinner, depending on the conditions and the situation of the game, in each game. Usually, Rinku Singh has not been used in the fielding innings, with one of Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma brought in. Expect them to continue with that.
Probable XII: 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Angkrish Raghuvanshi, 4 Venkatesh Iyer, 5 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Ramandeep Singh, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Harshit Rana, 12 Suyash Sharma/Vaibhav Arora
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan will only be fit for PBKS' next game, according to spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi. Whether that means Sam Curran opens again or one of Rilee Rossouw and Jonny Bairstow partners Prabhsimran Singh is anybody's guess.
Probable XII: 1 Prabhsimran Singh, 2 Rilee Rossouw/Jonny Bairstow, 3 Sam Curran (capt), 4 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Shashank Singh, 7 Ashutosh Sharma, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Arshdeep Singh, 12 Harpreet Singh

In the spotlight - Mitchell Starc and Harshal Patel

Of all the IPL grounds, the poorest economy rate (13.50) when fast bowlers bowl full under lights is at Eden Gardens. It's the venue Mitchell Starc, who loves to swing the ball from fuller lengths, has to call home in IPL 2024, and his returns have mirrored those stats. His best performance this season - 3 for 28 against Lucknow Super Giants - came in Kolkata while bowling first in an afternoon game. Starc's economy rate this season - 11.48 - is the poorest among bowlers who have bowled at least 25 overs, and is the poorest for any bowler to have bowled at least 20 overs in the first seven games of an IPL season. Most expensive in more ways than one, Starc has to live up to his reputation at some stage.
Harshal Patel had a forgettable start to IPL 2024 - four wickets at an average of over 45 and an economy rate of 11.31 in the first four games. But since then, he has returned nine wickets - seven of those at the death - at an average of a shade under 11 and an economy of 7.46. He has been effective with his changes of pace as well as angles, and has bowled in each of the three phases in the last four matches. About 80% of his wickets are of right-hand batters, and KKR have plenty of them, including Andre Russell - Harshal has dismissed him twice in 26 balls in all T20s.

Pitch and conditions

The KKR batters, especially the openers, have thrived on the high-scoring pitches in Kolkata. Expect a similar surface on Friday. Fast bowlers have had an economy of 10.74 in Kolkata as opposed to the spinners' 9.31, and a lot of that has to do with the success of Sunil Narine (16 overs, six wickets, economy 6.25) and Varun Chakravarthy (16 overs, five wickets, economy 9.81).

Stats that matter

  • Narine's 33 wickets against PBKS are the most for him against a single opponent in the IPL. He averages 19.90 against them and has an economy of 7.06
  • In the IPL, Shreyas Iyer has scored 12 off five balls against Kagiso Rabada, but in all T20s, it's 19 off 21. However, Rabada has never dismissed Iyer
  • Russell vs Curran is a proper cat-and-mouse game. Russell strikes at 221.4 against Curran for three dismissals in 28 balls in all T20s. Curran also gives it back: 39 runs in 21 balls for one dismissal against Russell in T20s.


"I will get to bowl when the opportunity arises, I am working on my bowling. The Impact Player rule is such that the use of the allrounder is reduced. Every team wants to bowl with their main fast bowlers."
KKR allrounder Ramandeep Singh
"Jitesh is a quality batter, and we know that the time has come for him to fire. There are multiple players in the IPL, who are eager to be part of India's T20 World Cup squad. For most of the players, making it to the Indian team will keep haunting them. So focus on the basics. You've got to perform and take it ball-by-ball, leave selection to the people who decide."
PBKS spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi's message to Jitesh Sharma

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

Win Probability
PBKS 100%
100%50%100%KKR InningsPBKS Innings

Over 19 • PBKS 262/2

PBKS won by 8 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)
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