Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, PBKS, KKR,
Image Credit: Twitter

KKR vs PBKS Match Preview- IPL 2021 Match 45. Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Punjab Kings in the 45th match of IPL 2021 on Friday at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. In the race for the fourth spot, the game holds vital importance for both sides.

Eoin Morgan
Image Source: Twitter

Kolkata Knight Riders are currently sitting at fourth position on the points table with 5 wins in 11 matches. And, on the other hand, Punjab Kings are at sixth, with four wins in 11 matches. Here’s a look at how both the teams have performed thus far in the tournament.

KKR vs PBKS Match Preview- IPL 2021 Match 45

Kolkata Knight Riders:

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders. Credits: KKR/Twitter

Kolkata Knight Riders had a miserable season in the first half of IPL 2021. However, Eoin Morgan and Co. have made a dramatic turnaround in UAE and currently find themselves at the top half of the points table. In 4 matches played in UAE, Kolkata Knight Riders have managed to win three games.

The inclusion of Venkatesh Iyer at the top of the order had reaped rewards. Kolkata Knight Riders are batting with an aggressive mindset and things are working pretty well for them at the moment.

Unfortunately, their two players, Andre Russell and Lockie Ferguson won’t be available for them in the next game due to injuries. Another worry for them is the poor form of Eoin Morgan.

KKR’s top four have scored the majority of their runs and there’s no denying that they are lacking firepower in the lower middle-order. The likes of Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik have to get back among the runs if KKR ought to reach the playoffs.

Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer. Credits: IPL

Venkatesh Iyer bowled for the first time this season in the last game against DC. He returned with the figures of 2 for 29 in 4 overs. His ability to bowl apart from opening the batting further strengthen the bowling unit of KKR.

KKR restricted Delhi Capitals to 127 runs in the last game. KKR lost wickets at regular intervals in the second innings but Nitish Rana’s 36-run unbeaten knock off 27 balls helped the side chase down the order in 18.2 overs. They have three games remaining and would be keen to win all three to confirm their playoff berth. However, how they cope up in the absence of Ferguson and Russell will be interesting to see.

Punjab Kings: 

Punjab Kings vs MI, IPL 2021
Image Source: Twitter

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Punjab have played well in IPL 2021. Their position on the points table tells a different story, though. In 11 games, they have four wins and 7 losses. It could have been six or seven wins had they closed out a few games successfully. Perhaps, no team has lost more games in the final over than Punjab. Having said that, KL Rahul and Co. still have an outside chance of making it into the playoffs but they can’t afford to lose a game from here. Three wins from the remaining three matches might take them to the playoffs.

After winning against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Punjab lost the momentum. They lost their last game against Mumbai Indians by 6 wickets. The likes of M Shami, Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh are doing a fine job with the ball. The trio didn’t allow MI to chase down a 135-run total easily as the match went till the 19th over of the innings. Nathan Ellis too supported brilliantly as he took 1 for 12 in 2 overs in the last game.

The problem, however, lies in the batting department. Their middle-order woes continue to haunt them. The poor form of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran isn’t helping the side at all. It’s time when Punjab should look beyond Nicholas Pooran and replace him with some other specialist overseas batsman. Deepak Hooda has been consistently underperforming and Punjab might think of replacing him with Shahrukh Khan in the next game.

With both teams keen to win the game, one could expect this to be a cracker of a contest.