Kolkata Knight Riders captain Nitish Rana won the toss in the team’s opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against Punjab Kings in Mohali on Saturday and elected to bowl first. Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz gets a look-in for KKR, while Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza will feature for PBKS.
“We will bowl first, it has rained in the last two days so there would be some moisture. I am excited because very few people get this opportunity. It is a game of cricket so there is not much pressure. The impact players rule is in its initial stage. We have to see that the decisions we take prove to be right," Rana said.
Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2023 Match no. 2 Live Score
“We would have fielded first. Getting the impact player in the second innings can create more of an impact. Happy to bat as well. We have got a balanced side, so hopefully, we will do good. The team preparation has been good and we will look to dominate the game, hoping for a great season ahead. We are eager to win the trophy and I am looking to lead from the front. My overseas players are - Bhanuka, Nathan Ellis, and Sam Curran," said Dhawan.
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Punjab Kings, under new captain Dhawan will be looking to make an impression in the IPL this year and hopefully, win their first IPL title. The IPL crown has eluded the PBKS even after 15 years of trying and their best-ever result was the runners-up finish in 2014 when they were incidentally beaten by a KKR side led by Gautam Gambhir.
KKR, on the other hand, are two-time champions and apart from the 2014 edition, they had won in 2012 as well. The head-to-head record between the two teams is loaded heavily in favour of KKR, with the Kolkata side winning 20 of their 30 exchanges. PBKS, earlier known as Kings XI Punjab, have won 10 of those matches.
Both teams would be hamstrung by injuries and players being absent due to national duty. Injury to KKR’s regular skipper Shreyas Iyer has meant that they have a new captain too, and Nitish Rana will be leading the side in the absence of Iyer.
Among the key players unavailable in this match are Jonny Bairstow, Kagiso Rabada and Liam Livingstone for PBKS and Lockie Fergusson, Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das for KKR.
Punjab Kings (Playing XI): Shikhar Dhawan(c), Prabhsimran Singh(w), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Nathan Ellis, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh
Kolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Mandeep Singh, Nitish Rana(c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee, Anukul Roy, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy
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