Arnab: That was a pretty brave call. Having won both games, KXIP don't need to chop and change.
LIKELY PLAYING XI: Hashim Amla, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron, T Natarajan
Baidurjo: I am definitely bringing back Chawla for this one, even if that means having three foreign players.
LIKELY PLAYING XI: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Piyush Chawla
Arnab: Yes, spinners have over the years dominated proceedings at the Eden Gardens and that will be a big incentive for someone like Axar who has made no bones about the fact that this is his last opportunity to make a return to the Indian team for the Champions Trophy.
Enough said and done, let us now have a look at the respective 'likely' Playing XIs as the opening ceremony is about to get underway.
Baidurjo: Yes, it was indeed heartening to see Aaron bowl his heart out in the last game for KXIP. Freak injuries have put breaks on his career over and over again and he would look to finally put an end to this. Nothing beats the sight of seeing a fast-bowler in full flow. After all, India have never seen too many bowlers hitting the 140kph mark with consistency.
But then, I expect the spinners to dominate on the Eden track and we will most likely see Shakib return to the playing XI in place of the injured Lynn.
Arnab: While spinners have always had a good outing at the Eden Gardens, it will be interesting to see how Varun Aaron fares in this game. He made a strong return against his old team RCB in the last game, picking two wickets at an economy rate of 5.25. His friend from the Indian team, Umesh Yadav, will definitely look to make a mark for KKR. Can Aaron do it again against KKR?
Baidurjo: If KKR's top batsmen have a weakness against Sandeep Sharma, KXIP stars Miller and Maxwell too have been found wanting against former KXIP player Piyush Chawla. While Chawla has dismissed Maxwell thrice, he has sent Miller back to the hut twice. Also, Chawla has managed to end Wriddhiman Saha's run in the middle twice. Chawla will surely fight for a place in the XI tonight.
Arnab: Talking of Gambhir, Sandeep Sharma clearly has his number. The pacer has dismissed him twice. But more than the dismissals, Gambhir has a strike rate of just 75.67 against the medium-pacer. That is just not enough in a T20 game. But then, Sandeep is just not a threat for Gambhir. Even Manish Pandey, KKR's best bat after the now-injured Lynn, has a weakness against the pacer, dismissed twice by him. The road does not look very easy for KKR tonight.
Baidurjo: Well, I have a few more up my sleeves for you. Skipper Gambhir has scored 1149 runs at Eden Gardens, the most. Also, Narine has so far picked 22 wickets against KXIP, the most for any spinner against the Punjab franchise. And, if KXIP skipper Maxwell is in good touch this season, Gambhir has won 10 games against KXIP, his most against any opponent.
Not to forget, Umesh has picked 15 wickets against KXIP and won 3 Man of the Match awards against Punjab.
Arnab: If you are going for numbers, let me give you a few as well. Axar has an economy rate of 5.72 against KKR. Wriddhiman Saha’s score of 115 against KKR in the IPL 2014 final, is the most by a player in a match against KKR. And coming back to this season, Maxwell has scored 87 games in two games. Last year, he took 6 games to score these runs.
Baidurjo: But a look at the stats and KKR hold the upper hand against KXIP. They have won 13 off the 18 games that the two teams have played. Also, KKR have won 7 out of 10 games at the Eden Gardens. More importantly, KXIP have lost all their last 4 games that they have played at the Eden Gardens.
Arnab: Umesh's return is big, but they will also miss the services of Lynn. A blessing in disguise for KXIP and they will not complain. Taking nothing away from the KXIP bowlers, it gives KXIP breathing space to start with. But then, the trio of Axar Patel, Sandeep Sharma and Varun Aaron have been impressive to say the least. They have done really well with economy rates of 4.87, 7.37 and 5.25 respectively.
Baidurjo: The records might back KXIP, but KKR have not done too badly either. They won the first game comprehensively against Gujarat Lions by 10 wickets and even in the second game against Mumbai, KKR were on top for the longest time before Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya took Mumbai home. But then, it is a new day and more importantly, Umesh is set to be back for KKR. And that is good news. The team needs his expertise in the death overs.
Arnab: No doubt Gambhir and his Knights would want to start off on a winning note at home, but then, the momentum is clearly with the Kings. They have not just registered two wins in two games, they have done it in style. A six wicket win against Pune was followed by an 8 wicket win against Bangalore. Augurs well for the morale of the boys.
Baidurjo: Good going for sure, but it is still early days and KKR have never been known to be great starters in this tournament. Also, 60,000 fans supporting the Knights. It is a cricketer's delight. Gautam Gambhir and his boys will be relishing the opportunity to get back to winning ways after losing the last game against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium by a whisker.
Arnab: Bright and early today. And yes, KXIP have been doing really well this time. Led from the front by the talismanic Glenn Maxwell and mentored by none other than Virender Sehwag, this team is definitely good to go places. I think they are here to stay at the top of the table for some time.
Hi! I am Baidurjo, cricket correspondent with Cricketnext, and I have with me Arnab, editor of Cricketnext.
We are starting a little early today as we have the opening ceremony at the Eden Gardens with Shraddha Kapoor and Monali Thakur expected to set the stage on fire.
I will be supporting my home team Kolkata Knight Riders while Arnab gets to bat for Kings XI Punjab. KXIP are currently sitting at the top of the points table after week 1.
Hello and welcome to the live preview of the blockbuster clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens.
For Live blog, scroll down to bottom of the page.
Hello and welcome to the live preview of the eleventh match of the tenth season of the Indian Premier League, where Kolkata Knight Riders take on Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens.
We at CricketNext will dissect the upcoming contest through our statistics based analysis where we discuss which team has greater chances of coming out on top.