About the Match
As the tournament is progressing, we are beginning to get a clear picture of who is going to be in top four. While the top four are going to be more or less the same as the standings now, it's the battle for the top two which is going to be intense. Kolkata Knight Riders have had the smoothest run among all teams in the IPL so far and they will take on Rising Pune Supergiant at Eden Gardens on 3rd May 2017. A win for Kolkata will steer them to a top position once again while a Pune victory will make things interesting as far as the battle for top spots is concerned.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR will be hoping to get back to the winning ways in this crucial encounter. KKR boast off an incredible record at Eden Gardens which will give them some sort of comfort after a morale-wrenching defeat. There's nothing much the bowlers could do when David Warner is on a song and it was a day just like that. However, their fielding was substandard as David Warner was dropped twice before eventually getting out on 126.
KKR's batting has been the talking point this season with some excellent individual performances from Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, and Manish Pandey. All three have looked in terrific touch and although Yusuf hasn't had much of the chance to bat, he has looked in fine form as well. Although it is almost certain that Chris Lynn won't be playing in this fixture, he was seen practicing with the team and we might see him open the innings once again during the business end of the tournament.
Until the last match, it was all praise for KKR bowlers, but David Warner smashed all of them. Nathan Coulter-Nile was impressive as he conceded an economy rate of just under 9 which would be considered luxury considering the mood Warner was in. Umesh Yadav, too, was good, but in patches and Woakes bowled well at death. Overall, their bowlers had a bad day which was helped by some poor fielding we expect their bowlers to do a lot better in the upcoming matches.
Rising Pune Supergiant
The million-dollar man showed his class as he helped Pune to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. At one stage, Pune was tottering at 42 with four chips down when MS Dhoni and Ben Stokes strung a match-winning partnership. Although Dhoni perished in quest of quick runs, he did take the game deep from where Stokes just teed off. Dan Christian, too, played well for his cameo which came when Stokes badly needed someone to stay at the crease as well as score quickly.
Barring the last match, Rahul Tripathi has been one of the most consistent men in this season as he scored a minimum of thirty runs everytime he stepped on the field. Rahane hasn't been as consistent as he's been in previous editions of the competition, but he hasn't been bad as well. Steve Smith has gotten starts but has always found a way to throw away his wicket. MS Dhoni has been exceptional with his glovework, but he would certainly like to play more freely as far as batting is concerned.
Bowling was their major cause of concern in the earlier stages of the competition, but with the addition of Dan Christian, the woes appear to have vanished. Thakur, Tahir, and Unadkat have all bowled well with good support from Stokes and Christian. Pune has bounced back into contention with three wins in their last three matches and most of the wins have been the ones which can really boost the morale. They'd have to step up when facing KKR at Eden Gardens and it won't be surprising if they register their fourth consecutive in the upcoming game.
KKR has been one of the most consistent sides this year whereas Pune has had its share of troubles. However, Pune with three wins in its last three matches appears to be a different outfit altogether. It has been tough for any side to beat KKR at their own den and it will be tough for Pune as well. Considering the form KKR is in coupled with the record they have at Eden Gardens, we'd place our money on the home team