New Delhi: Kings XI Punjab are standing on a real thin line to keep their play off hopes alive as they welcome Kolkata Knight Riders in a desperate need to clinch two points, at Mohali, tonight.
A rather topsy-turvy 10th season of Indian Premier League still witnessed Kings XI Punjab as one of the strong contenders for the play-off spot. Winning five and losing the same, with winning streak not more than two in-a-row, didn't stop owner Priety Zinta, nor the fans to rely less on Glenn Maxwell and his army. But Sunday's loss to already ousted Gujarat Lions sank their hopes as shimmering lights in a dark tunnel. Well mathematically, the Punjab-based franchise has to win all of the remaining three matches to crawl into the next round.
And for Kolkata Knight Riders, they are enjoying the high flight after thumping Royal Challengers Bangalore, once again. Two more matches left on their fixture and the Knight Riders have to win just one to seal their place for the next round of the league. Apart from that, there is always a desire to finish among the top-two teams on the table.
Here are the players to watch out for tonight...
Kolkata Knight Riders-
Sunil Narine- Opponents laughed, fans perplexed as Sunil Narine walked in for the first time along side the skipper to open for Kolkata. But all were stupefied, petrified, terrified when the Trinidadian let blitz with the bat to provide his team with a steady start. Recently, his 15-ball blitzkrieg to notch up record fastest fifty, redefined the meaning of T20 batting. Not to forget, Narine is also Gambhir's go-to-man in terms of bowling.
Gautam Gambhir-He had put his team's interest in front and not his own, by demoting himself to No. 3 spot, making way for Chris Lynn to open alongside Narine. Such is the skipper of Kolkata Knighr Riders. Although more of an aggressive opener, with a strong off-side, Gambhir has been crucial for the team in all batting situations. His recent partnerships with Robin Uthappa, demolished almost every bowling attack that came forth their way. With the latter's absence, much is left of his shoulders.
Kings XI Punjab-
Axar Patel- Claming almost 17 wickets in his first season with Kings XI Punjab in 2014, Axar has emerged to be a spirited all-rounder as the season has unveiled. In the team's recent encounter with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Axar once again proved his worth with his unbeaten 38 that picked up Punjab's near loitering score and then with the ball, finished 3/11 in four overs.
Glenn Maxwell- The Aussie hasn't been in the best of form as the season has rolled on further, with just glimpses of his past blitz being witnessed recently. On occasions, the skipper also takes on the ball to step into the attack. With Hashim Amla leaving on national duty, Glenn has to come forth with the bat to provide his maximum.