Kolkata looks to keep it going against Kings XI

Kolkata Knight Riders is a well-oiled unit and despite a hiccup with two consecutive defeats, it got back on track with a thumping win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.

Knight Riders will be hoping for Chris Lynn (left) and Sunil Narine to fire.   -  PTI

Just when it looked like Kings XI Punjab had turned a corner with its bowling, the team came up with a listless effort that saw them fail to defend a big total of 189 against Gujarat Lions on Sunday.

While Punjab’s centurion Hashim Amla was more forgiving of his team’s efforts in the field, giving credit to Dwayne Smith’s knock, skipper Glenn Maxwell, termed the loss “devastating” and did not mince words towards his bowlers.

Punjab kept conceding at least one boundary every over and had to wait till the 13th over to get one in without it. “The bowlers and fielders let us down. We dropped three crucial catches. We haven’t won a heap of games in a row. We’ve had to scrap,” said the Aussie. “Unfortunately, we will lose Hashim and David Miller now, and we’ll have to look deep in our reserves and regroup,” he added.

The defeat means Punjab has to win all its remaining matches which are against the top three in the points table—starting against Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday, followed by Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant.

Even if Punjab wins the next three, it will need to pray that defending champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad loses at least one if not both its remaining matches.

Kolkata Knight Riders on the other hand is a well-oiled unit and despite a hiccup with two consecutive defeats, it got back on track with a thumping win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.

The former champions have 16 points from 12 matches and would like to seal its place in the playoffs here with a win before its last game against Mumbai.

Sunil Narine’s move up the order has been a tactical masterstroke for KKR but in the recent matches his form was a slight worry with just 21 runs in four matches. But on Sunday, Narine set things right smashing the fastest fifty in IPL.

The injury issues to the team also seem to be abating just at the right time. The side got a boost with the return of Chris Lynn on Sunday and wicketkeeper-batsman Robin Uthappa who missed the last two games could also be back on Tuesday.

After the match on Sunday, KKR leg-spinner Piyush Chawla said, “Today he (Uthappa) was doing the fitness and all. He's looking quite fit, and hopefully he'll be good to go in the next game.So hope for the best.”

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