Punjab Kings head into this fixture on the back of pulling a major upset. The lease successful of all the IPL franchises, the Kings thrashed two-time defending champions Mumbai Indians by nine wickets on Friday night.
The architects of their upset win were their bowlers, almost all of whom chipped in, never allowing Mumbai easy runs and restricting them to just 131-6 – a total Punjab batsmen surpassed with ease. All three of their top-order batsmen chipped in, with the biggest contribution being an unbeaten 60 from their captain KL Rahul.
The victory ended a three-game slide for Punjab and restored some of their confidence that had been shot by their own nine-wicket defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the game before.
Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, are the most out-of-form team in IPL 2021 right now, although form changes in an instance in tournaments such as these. The Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise started their campaign with a win over Sunrisers Hyderabad but have since lost four straight matches, and currently dwell at the bottom of the points table.
Three of those four wins can be ignored, considering that they were against the likes of Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings – all heavy hitters. However, the last one against Rajasthan Royals was a painful pill to swallow – not just because of it being against the lowly Rajasthan but also due to its one-sided nature (nine-wicket defeat).
It has been a combination of both bowling and batting failures that is responsible for KKR being in this mess. At times, the bowlers give up scores in excess of 200, which the batsmen struggle to chase, and on other occasions, the batsmen fold for such low scores that the bowlers have very little to work with.