KXIP v KKR Star Wars: Sandeep Sharma v Sunil Narine

Sunil Narine was the architect of KKR’s destruction of RCB and once again will be a key factor for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned team when it looks to seal a semi-final slot

Kinds XI Punjab needs to win all its remaining matches to stand any chance of making it to the IPL 10 play-offs. Standing in its way will be two-time champion Kolkata Knight Riders, which thrashed Royal Challengers Bangalore in its previous match to all but guarantee a spot in the top four.

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Mystery spinner, and certainly more mystery batsman judging by his surprising performances with the willow, Sunil Narine was the architect of KKR’s destruction of RCB and once again will be a key factor for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned team when it looks to seal a semi-final slot. Coming out as an opener, Narine scored a quick-fire 15-ball 50, the fastest in IPL history, and provided an extra dimension to an already strong KKR batting line-up which has other capable openers in big-hitter Chris Lynn, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa. While Narine’s action change might have affected his bowling, he is still very economical and his emergence as a key all-rounder in the side has aided KKR’s excellent season so far.

While Kings XI’s batting-heavy line-up, which includes the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Hashim Amla (on South Africa duty now) and Martin Guptill, was expected to win the matches, it is its domestic-heavy bowling attack that has actually come good in the season so far. Medium pacer Sandeep Sharma has been the pick of the bowlers for Punjab — 16 wickets with an economy rate of 8.23 — and the Kings will be once again be reliant on a livewire performance from the local talent. The 23-year-old was fined for showing dissent against the umpire in Kings XI’s loss against Gujarat Lions but coach Virender Sehwag and co. will be hoping the Punjab bowler can channel his aggression to better showings with the ball. His change of pace and stinging yorkers have worked wonders in the tournament so far with two man-of-the-match performances in the season

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