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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||32||1||8.00|
The man who went unsold in two rounds to the IPL auctions before eventually getting snapped by KXIP at his base price scored the first century of the 11th edition of Indian Premier League. Quite surprisingly, the century was hit against arguably the strongest bowling lineup of the IPL - Sunrisers Hyderabad. Gaylestorm has already hit IPL as KXIP take on KKR at Eden Gardens on 21st April 2018. With the likes of Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, and Chris Lynn as swashbuckling batsmen at KKR's disposal, KXIP fans would want Chris Gayle to fire again. Eden Garden's surface so far has been conducive to stroke-making and another run feast is certainly on cards.
KKR have so far relied heavily on Andre Russell to provide impetus to the innings during the middle and end overs. It wasn't the case, however, when they faced Rajasthan Royals in their previous match. After Karthik invited Rahane to bat first, bowlers eventually backed the skipper's decision as the Royals were restricted to a total of just 160 which was then chased in a classic no-fuss KKR style.
KKR started with the spin to tackle D'Arcy Short stroke-making abilities. While Ajinkya Rahane got off to a flying start, spinners bowled with control and accuracy and took the steam of the Rajasthan's sails. Surprisingly, Sunil Narine was hammered for 48 off his four overs and returned with nothing in the wickets column. Nitish Rana, for the second time in the tournament, made an impact with the ball as he claimed prized wickets of Rahane and D'Arcy Short.
Chasing a subpar total, the only thing that could have dented their chase was a quick loss of wickets and they lost Chris Lynn on the third delivery of the innings. Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine then stitched together an important partnership of 69 vital runs. KKR batsmen looked in control for the entire duration of the chase which was underlined by skipper's finishing effort - a role which he's been playing beautifully in recent times. He scored 42 runs in just 23 delivers with two fours and two sixes.
Kolkata Knight Riders have a fairly strong contingent of Indian players at their disposal. They have a bowling attack that relies heavily on spinners - something which is difficult to relate to Eden Garden's surface of recent time. Despite that, their bowling has been terrific and has yielded great results for them. As far as batting is concerned, Nitish Rana, Robin Uthappa, and Andre Russell have been superfluous with the bat and KXIP certainly have the work cut out for them.
SP Narine, Chris Lynn, RV Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav.
Ravichandran Ashwin surprised everyone at the toss when he chose to bat first after winning the toss - something which no captain has done in this year's IPL yet. What followed next was absolutely magical as Chris Gayle singlehandedly batted Sunrisers Hyderabad out of the contest.
Chris Gayle scored a total of 104 runs which included 11 sixes and one four. Chris Gayle kickstarted KXIP's innings in the fourteenth over when he smashed Rashid Khan for four consecutive sixes to complete a 27-runs over which is most Rashid Khan has ever been hit for in one over. To the fans' delight, Aaron Finch scored his first run of the competition after scoring two golden ducks in two matches.
The pitch wasn't as easy to bat on as KXIP batsmen to it to look like and the bowlers bowled right as per the plan. Ravi Ashwin was hit for 53 in his four overs, but that shouldn't worry him or the management too much, considering the performances he's putting up in recent games. Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman sucked the steam out of the Sunrisers' sails are they picked up two wickets for 72 in their combined 12 overs.
Kings XI Punjab have impressed one and all with two complete performances at home ground. They now move to Eden Gardens, which is a tricky surface, and face a team that is doing exceptionally well at the moment. Considering Punjab's current form, a tough game is on the cards for KKR.
Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Y Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, AJ Tye, Barinder Sran, AS Rajpoot, Mujib Ur Rahman.
KXIP surprisingly opted to bat after winning the toss in their last game, but it is a different venue where dew plays a vital role. Expect skippers to win the toss and bowl first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
It could be a tough day for ground staff with chances of thunderstorms on Saturday evening. For that reason, there will be some assistance for seamers on a track which has recently suited batting and slower bowling. While there will be runs on offer here, we might see a start-stop scenario or a shortened match due to rain which might just kill the momentum of the innings.
Both KKR and KXIP have been brilliant in their recently concluded games with batsmen firing for both the sides. Although the track has been easy to bat on, the spinners have played a big role here in recent matches. Both Kolkata and Punjab have a wide array of spinners available with Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman for visitors while Chawla and Kuldeep for KKR. KKR have played well at home, but they haven't yet faced a side with the batting prowess as that of KXIP. Chris Gayle will be a big factor to take into consideration and we believe that the visitors will prevail in what promises to be a high-scoring encounter.
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