Kolkata and Lucknow will lock horns at the D.Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai on May 18. Both teams will be facing each other for the second time this season. The last time both teams played each other, the Indian T20 League debutants beat Kolkata by 75 runs. The Shreyas Iyer-led side will be looking to settle the score in this game.
Talking about the return fixture, both teams have playoff qualifications at stake. Lucknow has 16 points in their kitty and they would want to win this game to cement a berth in the playoffs. On the other hand, the two-time winners have 12 points, which means one more loss would end any hopes of qualification.
Kolkata:Â The team is coming off fairly big wins in the last two games against Mumbai and Hyderabad. These wins have boosted their Net Run Rate (NRR). However, they would also be looking at teams such as Bangalore and Delhi, who can get to 16 points. If either of them gets to that mark, it will be the end of the team’s journey this season. Currently, they would be focusing on what’s in their hands. A win against Lucknow will keep them in the hunt. Talking about the playing XI, they might replace Ajinkya Rahane, who has been ruled for the rest of the season due to an injury, with Baba Indrajit.
Nitish Rana: The left-hander is the second-highest run-getter in this season with 288 runs in 10 games. However, he has blown hot and cold. He has the ability to turn the game in the middle overs against spinners. He will be vital against a quality Lucknow bowling.
Andre Russell:Â The all-rounder hasn’t fired enough with the bat but has done well with the ball. He has 15 scalps to his name in 10 games. He had a good all-round game against Hyderabad where he scored 49 runs and picked three wickets. He will be key in this crunch game.
Probable XI:Â Venkatesh Iyer, Baba Indrajit/Aaron Finch, Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer (c), Sam Billings/Sheldon Jackson (wk), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, CV Varun
Lucknow:Â The team is coming off from losses against Gujarat and Rajasthan in their last two games respectively. However, the good things for them is that they have eight wins to their name which has put them in a strong position for playoff qualification. Another reason for that is their superior NRR (0.262). They would be looking to register a win against Kolkata and hoping that Rajasthan either doesn’t win their last game, or win by a smaller margin for them to finish in the top two. They might go with an unchanged playing XI.
KL Rahul:Â The skipper of the team started well with the bat but has been out of form in the last few games. He has 469 runs to his name in 13 games and is the team’s biggest match winner. KL needs to get back to form as we move to the business end of the tournament
Jason Holder:Â The all-rounder from the West Indies has taken 11 wickets in 11 games. He has been one of the underrated performers in the season. Holder doesn’t have many wickets and runs to show, however, he has bowled some match changing spells.
Probable XI:Â Quinton de Kock (wk), KL Rahul (c), Deepak Hooda, Marcus Stoinis, Ayush Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Jason Holder, Avesh Khan, Dushmantha Chameera, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohsin Khan
Venue: D.Y Patil Stadium, Mumbai
Time:Â 07:30 PM IST
Live Telecast:Â Star Sports Network and Disney+Hotstar
Pitch Report:Â The last game a the venue between Punjab and Delhi saw the ball gripping on the surface after losing it’s shine. Batters found scoring difficult after the powerplay. The condition could remain the same and the teams chasing could be in trouble.