With the tournament approaching its business end, former champions and hosts Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) take on new franchise and visitors Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS), in Match 45 of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 at the historic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. KKR, who have been in terrific form this season, have managed to stick around in the top four phase of the points table and are just a couple of wins away from sealing the playoffs berth. However, it would be interesting to see the playing XI for the game against RPS, as Ayush Gupta predicts the playing XI for KKR.
Top order: The top order is all set to begin with the likes of opener Robin Uthappa and skipper Gautam Gambhir, who have been in tremendous form ever since the start of the season, and have acted as the pillar to the KKR’s batting order. They are set to retain their place, with Manish Pandey at number three. Although he has been shaky for the past couple of games, he was a force at the early stages, until chicken pox forced him out for a few games. Since then, he is yet to fire. He deserves a fair chance. However, if the skipper decides to do away with him, he could be replaced by Manan Sharma, Rajagopal Satish, or Sheldon Jackson.
Middle order: The middle order is most likely to begin with Suryakumar Yadav, who has been in an explosive form of late, will be the man to be watched out for again, as he will be at number four, followed by Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan, who perfectly fit the spot, and put up a crucial stand in the last game against Gujarat Lions (GL), as they are set to retain their spot. At number seven, it has to be the explosive West Indian all-rounder, in the form of Andre Russell, who can be equally good with both bat and ball, and has proved it time and again, ever since the start of the tournament, and it his this form that also led West Indies to the ICC World T20 2016 glory in April. KKR vs RPS, IPL 2016, Match 45 at Kolkata, Preview: KKR aim to return to top spot
Bowling attack: The bowling attack could ideally start with Piyush Chawla. However, he was quite expensive in the previous tie, and could be replaced by Kuldeep Yadav. He could be followed by Umesh Yadav, along with Brad Hogg, while the last man to be in the side could be Shaun Tait, or Jason Holder, who is most likely to replace Morne Morkel, who was the most expensive bowler in the last game.
KKR likely XI: Robin Uthappa (wk), Gautam Gambhir (c), Manish Pandey/Manan Sharma/Rajagopal Satish/Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla/Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Brad Hogg, Shaun Tait/Jason Holder.