Kolkata will look to bring their Indian T20 League 2021 campaign back on track after four consecutive defeats when they face Punjab at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday, April 26.
Led by England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, Kolkata have failed to click as a unit and slipped to the bottom of the points table after they lost to Rajasthan in their last encounter. The two-time champions have won just one of their first five matches in the high-profile T20 League.
On the other hand, Punjab will be high on confidence after the KL Rahul-led side thrashed the defending champions Mumbai by nine wickets on Friday. The 2016 finalists will look to continue their winning momentum against Kolkata in Ahmedabad on Monday. Punjab are currently placed fifth in the points table with two wins and three losses.
Punjab vs Kolkata probable playing XI
Punjab had found their best combination in Chennai, but their season now shifts to Ahmedabad. However, the place of Nicholas Pooran, who has scored 0, 0, 9, 0, in the playing XI is expected to be under review though his turn did not come in the last match.
The franchise may also replace Fabian Allen with England fast bowler Chris Jordan.
Bottom-placed Kolkata are expected to make few changes to their playing XI against Punjab. Several of their big stars including captain Eoin Morgan and opener Shubman Gill have failed to perform in the initial few matches. The franchise has many batting options on the bench which includes Karun Nair, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Sheldon Jackson.
In the bowling department, Kolkata might bring in Lockie Ferguson in place of Pat Cummins.
Punjab predicted XI: KL Rahul (captain/wicketkeeper), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Fabian Allen/Chris Jordan, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
Kolkata predicted XI: Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
Punjab vs Kolkata prediction: Who will win?
In Punjab vs Kolkata head-to-head record in the Indian T20 League, Eoin Morgan’s side has a clear edge over KL Rahul’s men. The two-time champions have won 18 of the 27 matches played between these two sides while Punjab have registered just nine victories. Additionally, Kolkata have won four of their last five fixtures between the teams. Eoin Morgan and his men are tipped to triumph over Punjab at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Monday.
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Top Tip: Best Batsmen
Punjab swashbuckling opener Chris Gayle will be the player to watch out for against Kolkata. Gayle has a stellar record against his former side, amassing 700 runs in 18 matches at a strike rate of 152.17. He has smashed one century and five fifties against Kolkata.
For Kolkata, former captain Dinesh Karthik will look to play a match-winning innings to help his side return to winning ways. The 35-year-old has a decent record against Punjab, aggregating 557 runs in 24 matches at a strike rate of 142.45, with four fifties to his name.
Top Tip: Best Bowlers
In the bowling department, Punjab fast bowler Mohammed Shami is tipped to be the wrecker-in-chief for his side against Kolkata. Shami has bagged eight wickets in nine innings against the opposition at a strike rate of 25.5.
Meanwhile, Punjab’s biggest bowling threat will be mystery spinner Sunil Narine. The 32-year-old has scalped 28 wickets in 19 innings against KL Rahul and his men.
Top Tips: All-rounder and Wicket-keeper
Punjab all-rounder Moises Henriques is tipped to bring all his experience into play against Kolkata. Henriques has a great record against Kolkata both with the bat and the ball. He is expected to play an important role for Punjab at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Monday.
On the other hand, Kolkata’s Andre Russell is one of the most influential all-rounders in the shortest format of the game. Russel has scored 251 runs and picked 14 wickets against Punjab in just 10 matches. Kolkata will hope Andre Russell can put in a match-winning performance on Monday.
For the wicket-keeper position, Dinesh Karthik would be the preferred choice over KL Rahul. Karthik is one of the most successful wicket-keepers in the Indian T20 League history as he has taken 120 catches and completed 31 stumpings.
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Featured photo: IPL/BCCI