KKR vs KXIP: Umesh Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan's comeback makes Gautam Gambhir's men stronger
While Umesh's rise over the last few months has been one of the major positives for Indian cricket, Shakib has the potential to change the course of a match single-handedly.
New Delhi: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who have been one of the most balanced teams in the history of Indian Premier League (KKR), suffered a heartbreaking loss against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the previous game, which slipped out of their hands due to some sloppy fielding efforts in the death overs.
To make matters worse, Chris Lynn – the big-hitting Australian all-rounder – injured his left shoulder in the match against Mumbai and is likely to miss the remainder of the tournament.
Lynn's injury has come as a huge blow for KKR, considering Andre Russell, their star performer in the last two years, is also missing the tournament thanks to a one-year ban.
Despite losing two key overseas players, Kolkata still have something to cheer about as Umesh Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan are all set to join the squad.
While Umesh missed out on the first two matches for KKR following a hectic home season, the Bangladeshi all-rounder was away on national commitments.
Umesh's rise over the last few months has been one of the major positives for Indian cricket. He bowled his heart out against world class opponents, and Gambhir would want the seamer to carry his Test form into the shortest format of the game.
Shakib, as most of the teams are aware, is a world class player and has the potential to single-handedly turn the course of a match on his day.
KKR got off to a sensational start in the tournament where Gambhir (76*) and Lynn (93%) made a mockery of Gujarat Lions' 183-run target in the first match.
In the second match, however, KKR were at the receiving end despite putting a decent 181-run target on board, thanks to a magnificent knock by Manish Pandey (81*).
Robin Uthappa, who has been a consistent performer for the team, is likely to get back to his position as an opener with Gambhir against KXIP.
The two-time IPL winners would be desperate to get back to winning ways, but it isn't going to be easy, as they are up against Glen Maxwell's men, who are on a two-match winning streak.