A consistently disappointing Kings XI Punjab team will have a do or die match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday where they will have to win and retain their hopes in the tournament. Punjab has lost in the last four consecutive matches. He suffered a crushing defeat of 69 runs in the last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, while Kolkata had a convincing win in the previous match against Chennai Super Kings.

KKR’s challenge will be even more difficult for the Punjab team, who lost the previous match to Sunrisers Hyderabad by 69 runs, who have a good mix of young and experienced players. After five defeats and one win, Punjab are at the bottom of the table with two points, while KKR are fourth with six points with three wins.

After a poor performance in some matches, KKR have joined the title contenders as most of their players are in form. Shubman Gill is impressing as an opener, while Rahul Tripathi has great confidence. He smashed 87 against Chennai Super Kings two days ago. Sunil Naren has returned to form with bat and ball after his initial failures. Eoin Morgan’s presence in the middle order strengthens the team and Nitish Rana has also impressed. Andre Russell, however, has not yet shown the form for which he is known.

The cause of concern for KKR is the poor form of captain Dinesh Karthik. He also failed by dropping to number three at the start of the tournament and could not do anything amazing at number seven in the last match. However, he captained well against Chennai, especially the changes in bowling were effective. The pace bowling includes Pat Cummins in addition to Kamlesh Nagerkoti and Shivam Mavi, while spin spinners Naren and Varun Chakraborty will handle.

If Punjab is to remain in the playoff competition then it will have to win against Kolkata. If he is destined to lose in this match too, it will be difficult for him to reach the playoffs. Punjab have eight matches left and will need at least 14 points to stay in the race for the playoffs, so a single defeat could make it difficult for them.

Both the bowling and batting of Punjab against Hyderabad were a complete failure. Hyderabad captain David Warner and Johnny Bairstow broke down on Punjab bowlers and shared 160 runs for the first wicket. No bowler from Punjab was able to bother these players. However, the relief for Punjab was that his leg-spin bowler Ravi Bishnoi bowled tight in the end over and kept Hyderabad at 201 runs. But he will have to learn from his mistakes against Kolkata as Kolkata have dangerous batsmen like Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell.

Punjab’s batting also failed against Hyderabad and chasing a big target, it was piled on for 132 runs. The Punjab batsmen have the ability to make a comeback. The opening pair of skipper Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal can cause trouble for KKR. In the last match, Rashid Khan had troubled the Punjab batsmen a lot, in such a situation, Punjab will have to overcome Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav’s spin. Punjab will also have to think about trying T-20’s most destructive batsman Chris Gayle, who has been sitting on the bench so far. 

The teams are:
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, Mujib ur Rehman, Karun Nair, James Neesham, Nicholas Puran, Ishan Porel, Arshadip Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Krishnappa Gautam, Harpreet Brar, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Simran Singh, Jagdish Suchit, Tajinder Singh, Hardas Villogen.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (captain and wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagerkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, renowned Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Naren, Pat Cummins , Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakraborty, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Ali Khan.

The match will start at 3.30 pm Indian time.

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