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Cricket Indian Premier League Prediction

Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders

🏏 1 April 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0

Under a new regime, the Punjab Kings will again hope to start a new Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a positive note after winning their opening matches of the two previous and ultimately unsuccessful seasons. 60-year-old Australian journeyman Trevor Bayliss will begin his third IPL tenure against the team he led to titles in 2012 and 2014, the latter of which was ironically the second and the last time Punjab reached the playoffs.

Punjab has chopped and changed its recipes with increasing desperation in search of the perfect dish but has served up years of mediocrity, and this time around they have turned to a proven leader on the field. 37-year-old Shikhar Dhawan has been a model of consistency with the bat year in and year out wherever he plays. Given his longevity in the league, it remains surprising that the new permanent captain has skippered any IPL team just 11 times in eight years. With a top score of just 45 in those 11 games, 2023 could be the first time he puts two and two together in what could be one of his final appearances in the tournament.

The return to Mohali (and Dharamsala later on) in the IPL’s first home and away season since 2019 should prove to be a fruitful one based on recent history for the Kings, who won five of their seven games at the I.S. Bindra PCA Stadium in that season, including an impressive 4-2 record when beginning as the underdogs. More recently, Punjab adopted an ultra-aggressive batting approach that saw them finish 2022 as the fastest powerplay scorers (9.20rpo) of the league, but ultimately, their near-league high loss of 99 wickets throughout the season saw them fizzle out very quickly with the bat, so much so that they were the slowest scorers in both the middle overs period (7.63rpo) and in the final four overs (9.97rpo) due to an inability to construct meaningful partnerships.

They’ve lost much of that firepower as far as this immediate game is concerned, owing to Jonny Bairstow’s broken leg and fellow English big-hitter Liam Livingstone being ruled out of the first game of the season after the ECB delayed medical clearance following his knee injury. All eyes will instead be on another Englishman after Punjab paid a record price for all-rounder Sam Curran, who earned his enormous payday as the 2022 T20 World Cup’s Player of the Tournament. Curran hasn’t quite been able to cut it in the IPL as yet, though, averaging one wicket per match at 9.21rpo and 22 runs per dismissal with the bat. He will bear some extra responsibility in the absence of Kagiso Rabada who is on national duty.

Standing in their way is the only franchise of 2022 to have lost more than 100 wickets. The Kolkata Knight Riders recorded their worst finish in eight years last season, a dramatic drop after making the 2021 final. Led temporarily by Nitish Rana in the absence of the injured Shreyas Iyer, they will field an intriguing lineup this year that has the explosive Rahmanullah Gurbaz and the much more circumspect N. Jagadeesan as wicketkeeper-openers and a home-grown middle order preceding the West Indian pair of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, the latter of whom could be used as an “impact player”. The Bangladeshi pair of Shakib al Hasan and Litton Das will be unavailable here because of Bangladesh’s series against Ireland, but the former will soon be an important part of the setup.

Kolkata won four of their eight away games in 2019, a record that saw the pre-match favourites win seven times, but all bets are off in this early part of the season, particularly with many foreign players needing time to adjust to their new ‘home ground’ after three seasons in mostly neutral territory. How they fare without their leading run-scorer from 2022 (Shreyas) remains to be seen, but they’ve had quite some time to plan for an April without him. New coach Chandrakant Pandit boasts a record of success at the domestic level that includes Ranji Trophy titles with both Vidarbha and Mumbai.

At least until Shakib and Litton are both available, the Knight Riders may have to win this game with the ball and use the wealth of excellent bowlers at their disposal, starting with Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee who collected eight and four powerplay wickets respectively last season and ably supported by mystery spinner Narine who had the second-best middle overs economy rate (eight wickets at 5.30rpo) of the entire 2022 IPL. Lockie Ferguson could be in doubt for the season opener with hamstring issues.

📋 Players to watch: Spin bowler Rahul Chahar will be hoping to open 2023 in the same way he did 2022 - by registering his team’s best bowling figures in five of their first seven games. Chahar has dismissed stand-in Kolkata captain Nitish Rana twice from 19 deliveries bowled for just 25 runs conceded, Rana will have a point to prove as leader after top scoring for the Knight Riders (outright or equal) four times last season. Rana has never batted in Mohali in IPL cricket.

Stat attack: Punjab lost five of the six H2Hs in which they started the match as favourites.

  • The average first innings score in Mohali is 165, though that was slightly higher in 2019 (171).
  • Punjab posted the largest powerplay score ten times in 2022, compared with just five times for Kolkata.
  • Sunil Narine has taken 12 wickets from his six IPL appearances in Mohali at an average of 12.00 (6.00rpo).
  • Umesh Yadav has dismissed Shikhar Dhawan just once from 14 overs bowled in T20 cricket, conceding 95 runs at 6.79rpo.
  • Andre Russell top-scored for Kolkata on more occasions (five) than any other player last season.

Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders

🏏 1 April 2023 - 18:00 GMT +0

Gujarat Titans’ incredible title win in their debut season took a lot of the spotlight away from what was also an outstanding first Indian Premier League (IPL) for newcomers Lucknow Super Giants, who had more points after 11 games (16) than any other team only to fade into a third-place finish and a 14-run loss to Bangalore in the Eliminator. Now with the assumed advantage of being able to play at home for the first time in their history, KL Rahul will be hoping to wave away the humiliation of recently losing the Test vice-captaincy by steering Lucknow to the 2023 title.

Rahul has been a consistent run-scorer in this competition, amassing at least 600 runs in all but one of his last five IPL campaigns, and last season formed one-half of a formidable opening partnership with Quinton de Kock, who has been in scintillating international form in the last six to 12 months. Lucknow’s immediate concern, and one that they would have been aware of well in advance, is that de Kock will be missing for the opening week as South Africa chases ODI World Cup qualification at home.

Their biggest out as far as their bowling attack is concerned is the injury to Mohsin Khan, whose 14 wickets in nine appearances was bolstered by a standout economy rate of just 5.96rpo. English quick (and we mean quick!) Mark Wood has been bought to reinforce a dwindling wicket-taking arsenal that may be weaker than it was last year not only owing to Mohsin’s absence for what will probably be the entire season (head coach Andy Flower described any games he plays in 2023 as “a bonus”) but also with one of Wood, Marcus Stoinis or Kyle Mayers having to make way for de Kock’s return which will leave them short of fifth bowling options.

Delhi Capitals fell two points short of the playoffs in 2022, ending three successive postseason appearances, and they can in part point to their two losses to the Super Giants as part of the reason for doing so. But the two sides were evenly matched in both contests, and with the Player of the Match awards for those games going to the absent duo of Mohsin Khan and de Kock, the Capitals can go into their season opener confident particularly having won six of their nine games at an opposition stadium since the start of 2019.

The gaping hole in their roster was identified months ago when wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant was involved in a serious car accident that put him out of action for months. Whilst he makes an indelible mark on any team that he is a regular part of, it appears that Delhi has done well to try to fill the hole left behind. Sarfaraz Khan is expected to take the gloves and the Capitals will field an aggressive and dangerous top five consisting of four foreigners such as Rilee Rossouw, David Warner and Rovman Powell. The makeup of the batting order has not yet been announced, with Mitchell Marsh making a strong case in recent years to open the batting in place of David Warner who could potentially drop to three during his return to cricket.

Delhi boasted the fastest overall run rate (8.88rpo) of all sides last year thanks to the blistering powerplay strike rates of Warner (9.24rpo) and Prithvi Shaw (9.04rpo), whilst Rovman Powell boosted their scoring in the back end of the innings with an impressive 22 sixes. Powell’s game continues to evolve with every year and it will be particularly fascinating to see what kind of responsibility he takes after recently being appointed as the new West Indian T20I captain ahead of their home World Cup in 2024. On the bowling front, they’ve also had to plan to begin their season without Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi and Mustafizur Rahman, all of whom will be playing for their countries.

📋 Key battle: David Warner lost valuable match practice when missing two Tests and two ODIs of Australia’s recent tour with an elbow injury, but has no shortage of experience in India. He did, however, fail to reach 500 runs in the last two IPLs, recording scores of 3 & 4 against Lucknow last year. The Lucknow analysts should be compelling captain KL Rahul to turn early to Ravi Bishnoi, who well and truly has Warner’s measure with career H2H figures of 3/5 from just six balls bowled!

Stat attack: The pre-match outsiders won 11 of Delhi’s 14 matches in 2022.

  • Delhi scored the most powerplay runs in 11 matches last season, whilst Lucknow did so just three times.
  • On the other hand, Lucknow posted the highest opening partnership ten times compared with Delhi’s four, though that was with Quinton de Kock at the top.
  • Axar Patel went wicketless in nine of his 13 IPL bowling innings last year, including both against Lucknow, averaging 53 with the ball in 2023.
  • Deepak Hooda was one of eight players, alongside teammates Rahul and de Kock, to record at least four 50+ run scores in the 2022 IPL.
  • Krunal Pandya took just one wicket from eight powerplay overs in 2022 at an average of 83.00 and an economy rate of 10.37rpo.
  • Against the trio of Chetan Sakariya, Kuldeep Yadav and Lalit Yadav, KL Rahul has scored 110 runs from 55 balls at an average of 36.67.

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