About the Match
Two form teams will be taking on each other in this encounter as Rising Pune Supergiant with three wins on the trot and Kolkata Knight Riders fresh from a record-breaking win against RCB take on each other. The match will be played at Pune where the conditions have favored big runs up until now.
Rising Pune Supergiant
RPS beat the tournament favorites, Mumbai Indians, for the second time this year to move up to 4th
in the IPL table. That win, which saw their most expensive signing finally live up to his reputation, has helped the Pune team find some sort of stability to their team.
Youngsters like Washington Sundar and Rahul Tripathi are performing important roles, while mainstays of the team like Rahane, Smith, Dhoni and Stokes find form at the right time in the tournament.
Of course, their bowling is still too dependent on the performance of Imran Tahir, but the presence of Shardul Thakur and Jayadev Unadkat has at least given them something to plan around.
For Pune to continue to do well in this tournament, Rahane will have to find form. He scored a fluent 38 in the last match and we believe that a big inning from him is just around the corner. Ben Stokes is also adjusting to the demands of this tournament and his phenomenal bowling performance against Mumbai in the last match could translate to some big runs very soon.
RPS is peaking at the right time in this tournament and another win here will go a long way in securing their place in the knockouts.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir revealed that he gave all of his players a real dressing down after their batting performance against RCB which inspired the best bowling performance in IPL history. It was great to watch as Coulter-Nile, Chris Woakes and de Grandhomme all took three wickets for not too many to bowl RCB out for 49.
We, however, believe that there are some deeper issues in this KKR team and it remains very beatable.
The KKR bowling attack is very well sorted, however, players like Woakes, Umesh Yadav, and de Grandhomme can go the distance on a bad day. Players like Smith and Stokes in the opposition like the extra pace coming on to their bat and can make full use of it to score rapidly.
The KKR batting is also very prone to collapses. Up until now, Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey have been contributing in almost every match but if their form drops off even a little, there is not too much backup in their team.
Robin Uthappa always seems to give chances to the opposition, Yusuf Pathan looks uncomfortable in the middle at most times and Shakib Al Hasan may be batting a bit too low to make a difference, if he plays that is.
de Grandhomme is untested in Indian conditions, while Chris WOakes has fared poorly with the bat in the chance he has got.
All of this means, that a batting collapse from KKR can never be ruled out. We expect to see a few changes from the team that won the last match as Gautam Gambhir is too smart a captain to not see the weaknesses emerging in his team.
Head To Head
There have been only two encounters between KKR and RPS up until now, both of which KKR has won to enjoy an unbeaten record.
KKR is obviously a more experienced and settled IPL unit with better Indian talent but Pune has some serious overseas talent at their disposal as well. The trajectory of both the teams in this tournament makes us back RPS for the win in this one.
To Win: Rising Pune Supergiant