Knight Riders have Russell’s fitness to worry about, while Kings get a boost with Rabada’s availability
In the news
After Wednesday’s game, where Russell bowled only three overs, Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum said that the allrounder’s shoulder was sore after he dived near the boundary. If Russell doesn’t recover in time, Knight Riders could instead call up Mohammad Nabi or Chamika Karunaratne.
South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada is out of quarantine and trained with the Kings after having participated in the ODI series at home against Bangladesh. Jonny Bairstow, however, is unavailable for Kings’ second game as he is yet to complete quarantine upon arrival from the Caribbean.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Venkatesh Iyer, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Nitish Rana, 5 Sam Billings, 6 Sheldon Jackson (wk), 7 Andre Russell/Chamika Karunaratne/Mohammad Nabi, 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Varun Chakravarthy
Punjab Kings: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa (wk), 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Raj Bawa, 6 M Shahrukh Khan, 7 Odean Smith, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Rahul Chahar
Stats that matter
- Russell has the wood over Rabada in T20s, taking him for 79 runs off 39 balls at a strike rate of over 200 while being dismissed just once.
- Umesh Yadav has 49 wickets in the powerplay in the IPL at an economy rate of 7.60. Only Bhuvneshwar Kumar (51), Sandeep Sharma (52) and Zaheer Khan (52) have picked up more wickets than Umesh in the first six overs.
- Sunil Narine has a particularly strong record against Kings, having picked up 31 wickets in 21 games at an average of 18.22 and economy rate of seven.
- Harpreet Brar was expensive in Kings’ opening game, but he could still be a decent option against Knight Riders’ right-hander heavy batting line-up. The left-arm fingerspinner’s economy rate of 6.04 in IPL 2021 was the best among bowlers who had bowled more than ten overs last season.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo