Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab, Sharjah

Pro Tip:
Pitches have been slow, so fill your XI with spinners along with top-order batsmen as the game is in Sharjah. Spinners have picked up 12 wickets at an economy of 7.4 in the last five games at the venue.

Our XI: KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Nitish Rana, Chris Gayle, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, M Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, Lockie Ferguson

Substitutes: Mayank Agarwal, Pat Cummins, Shubman Gill, Glenn Maxwell

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Player availability: Mayank Agarwal should be back for this fixture while Andre Russell is set to miss this one as well. All other players are available for selection.

Captain: KL Rahul

Rahul has had a couple of low scores in his last few games. But his overall form suggests a big innings is around the corner. He has scored the most runs among all Kings XI batsmen against Kolkata since 2018 - 203 runs in five innings including three fifties at an average of 40.6 and a strike rate of 161.11. The last time these two teams met, Rahul scored 74.

Vice-captain: Eoin Morgan

Morgan has been quite consistent this season, with six 30-plus scores in the last 10 matches. He now has 295 runs this season and his average of 36.87 is the best among all Knight Riders batsmen this season. Short boundaries suggest the possibility of a big innings from Morgan.

Hot Picks

Nicholas Pooran: Pooran has been contributing with some excellent cameos and when he has got the opportunity to bat for a while, he has made the most of it, helping Kings XI out of trouble. His strike rate in IPL 2020 in the middle overs is 173.91, the best among all batsmen who have scored 100 or more runs in the phase of the game and he has scored a six every 8.6 balls in the phase.

Mohammed Shami: Shami has been fantastic for Kings XI this season. He has bowled well up front in the powerplay and has come back to close innings off at the death as well. He has picked up five wickets in the powerplay this season at an economy of 7.16. Against a team struggling to get going in the powerplay in KKR, Shami should prosper.

Ravi Bishnoi: Bishnoi has been very clever with his line and length and also with varying his pace. He has picked up 10 wickets in the tournament so far at an economy of 7.43, the best among all Kings XI bowlers this season. He has also picked up the most number of wickets in the middle overs for his side - nine wickets at an economy of 7.14.

Differential Picks

Varun Chakravarthy: Chakravarthy has been bowling tight lines which have been resulting in economic spells. He has picked up at least one wicket in almost all games. He finished with a five-for in the last game against the Delhi Capitals and he has now picked up 12 wickets (most for KKR this season) at an economy of 7.05.

M Ashwin: Ashwin has impressed in every single game he has played this season. He has eight wickets at an economy of 7.58 in the tournament. Ashwin has been vital for Kings XI in the middle overs, picking up five wickets at an economy of 7.5.

Alternate Scenarios

  • If Mayank Agarwal returns, replace one of the Kings XI legspinners with him.

  • Shubman Gill's form has dropped significantly over the last few games but his last fifty came against the Kings XI and he is an option to replace Nitish Rana. If the Knight Riders bat first, pick both Rana and Gill and remove Pooran simply because there is a higher chance for the Knight Riders top-order batsmen to face more balls.