These are early days in the Indian Premier League, but toss has already played a role in the outcome of the fixtures with dew setting in the second half.
Both Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings will be keen to win the toss and make the most of the conditions when they meet at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
KKR head into the game on the back of a three-wicket defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore, while Punjab appears confident after beating RCB in its opener. And on a fresh surface, Punjab will be pinning its hopes on South African speedster Kagiso Rabada, who is expected to be available after completing his quarantine.
KKR’s top-order struggled against RCB pacers Akash Deep and Mohammed Siraj in the previous outing. There will be challenges with Rabada steaming in, supported by left-hand seamer Arshdeep Singh. A lot will depend on spinners Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar as well.
KKR’s bowling unit has been impressive with Umesh Yadav back among wickets. He needs to keep the momentum going, along with Tim Southee. Spinner Varun Chakravarthy, though, needs to hit the straps quickly.
Punjab’s batting unit looks balanced with captain Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Liam Livingstone. Uncapped Indian players Shahrukh Khan and Raj Angad Bawa, who faltered in the tournament opener, have the firepower to be potential match-winners.
KKR, on the other hand, needs to regroup quickly and ensure that its openers Ajinkya Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer can build a long partnership. Venkatesh failed to convert starts in the two games thus far, and the team management will be hoping that he strikes form.
Captain Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana will have to anchor the middle order. After a quickfire knock against RCB, Andre Rusell had a ‘sore shoulder’ while fielding and his fitness will be a concern for KKR.
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