Kolkata Knight Riders will be keen to record its second win of the season over Punjab Kings in order to get closer to a coveted playoffs berth in the 2021 Indian Premier League.
When the two sides meet at the Ring of Fire in Dubai on Friday, the intensity is expected to be high. KKR, fourth with 10 points, will try to remain in the top half, while PBKS, two points and as many slots away from the Eoin Morgan-led team, will be desperate to win its remaining three matches to be relevant in the business end.
KKR has players who have contributed in key moments to provide a distinct momentum to the side in the Gulf leg of the event. Performers like eye-catching all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Lockie Ferguson and promising spinner Varun Chakravarthy have taken the responsibility in the time of need.
The win over the formidable Delhi Capitals and a better head-to-head record (19 wins, nine losses) against PBKS should spur the team, which will play an evening match after two consecutive day encounters.
PBKS has enough resources, but it has not managed to seize the important moments.
Recovering from its defeat to Mumbai Indians, PBKS will rely on captain K.L. Rahul and Aiden Markram in the batting department while hoping that Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran regain their form. Efficient bowlers in Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh and Nathan Ellis have it in them to go for the kill.