Andre Russell

IPL 2018: ‘Battle Royale’, as table-toppers KKR to face mighty KXIP

[caption id="attachment_65808" align="aligncenter" width="580"]DK and Ashwin Home side Kolkata Knight Riders will face KXIP tomorrow at the Eden Gardens. Image Source: twitter[/caption]

XtraTime Web Desk: Interesting battle on cards as table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders and high on confidence Kings XI Punjab will lock horns against each other in an Indian Premier League encounter tomorrow.

Jamaican sensation Chris Gayle was on top last night against Sunrisers Hyderabad as he played a blistering knock of 104 not out in 63 deliveries. His batting was praised more as it was done against a side which is considered to be one of the best bowling outfits in this season.

The ‘Universal Boss’ hit 11 sixes and among them seven was hit against ICC’s No.1 T20 bowler Rashid Khan. With this knock he gave a great response to the critics after facing a humiliation in last IPL auction where he went unsold on Day 1 of the auction.

The star Windies batsman was not in the playing XI in their first two matches, but when he finally got a chance in the third game against Chennai Super Kings his 63-run knock helped his team to win the game.

"A lot of people said Chris has a point to prove. Time waits for no one but Im not here to prove anything to anyone. I just want to move on, enjoy my cricket," Gayle said.

The battle at the Eden Gardens will see Gayle facing the spin challenge of KKR with West Indies teammate Sunil Narine and India sensation Kuldeep Yadav leading the attack that also has Piyush Chawla and part-timer Nitish Rana.

Kings XI Punjab look a transformed unit under India discard Ravichandran Ashwin. They now seem to be on a mission with a top-heavy batting comprising KL Rahul and Gayle followed by the flair of Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair.

In Australian Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh, they have two destructive finishers who are due for big knocks, and KKR would look for early breakthroughs to mount pressure on the duo.

Russell, another explosive Jamaican, singled-handedly decimated Delhi Daredevils in his 12-ball 41 in their last match at the Eden.

The biggest gain for the home side has been that of Mumbai Indians recruit Rana who got back-to-back Man of the Match awards in their wins over Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals.

The left-hander has showed fine temperament, forming the backbone of their batting, which wore an unsettled look at the start.

Ranas part time off-spin has also given the team some crucial breakthroughs -- his wickets of Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan Royals) bear testimony to that.

Their spinners bowlers 14 overs in Jaipur, accounting for five wickets to stall Rajasthan Royals to 160/8 en route to their five-wicket win.

Teams (from):

Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c and WK), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi and Tom Curran.

Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, AJ Tye, Mohit Sharma and Mujeeb ur Rahman.

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