Extra Time Web Desk: Fresh from a narrow defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore, Shreyas Iyer’s Kolkata Knight Riders will be aiming to return to winning ways in a thrilling match against the Punjab Kings on Friday. Wankhede Stadium.
Batting at Wankhede, where the track is relatively fresh, has not been seen in two games played at the venue so far.
It may be the first day of the two-month-long IPL but the toss is already playing a significant role in the outcome of the game with dew appearing in the second half.
Kolkata opener Ajinkya Rahane and attacking Venkatesh Iyer died cheaply against RCB and the pair will be looking to give the team a strong start.
Although captain Shreyas Iyer, who is in good form despite the setback against RCB, will play a key role at the wheel, support like Nitish Rana will be needed.
Continuity will be the key in the case of left-handed runners. In addition to these two, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson and big-hitter Andre Russell will be in charge of the middle order.
The KKR line-up has batsmen who can scatter in any attack and the management will expect them all to shoot in unison against Punjab.
On the bowling front, pacer Umesh Yadav was great in both the matches with the new ball. Veteran Kiwi bowler Tim Southee, who replaces Shivam Mavi and has taken three wickets, also has a leading role.
A form of concern for Kolkata will be the form of spinner Varun Chakraborty, who will have to hit fast.
Predicted KKR XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer (C), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings (WK), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakraborty