The race to playoffs hasn't yet ended for Kolkata Knight Riders. After beating the Delhi Capitals comprehensively in their previous game, Eoin Morgan and Co are set to square off against Punjab Kings at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
KKR have a healthy net-run rate of +0.363 and a win can consolidate their position on the fourth spot. And if they couldn't defeat the sixth-placed PBKS, the competition for them will turn tougher, with Mumbai Indians trying hard to propel up again.
Moreover, every game from here has to be treated with utmost crucial and to perform well, KKR need not tinker with the winning combination.
Here's our KKR Predicted XI vs Punjab Kings:
Shubman Gill: The KKR opener has been in terrific form in the UAE leg of the tournament. He is scoring confidently and the kind of starts he has been providing along with his new partner, KKR won't think to disturb the pair, unless there are some injury or fitness-related concerns.
Venkatesh Iyer: After scoring some quick runs following his debut, the Indore youngsters picked some handy wickets in the previous game. The team would definitely carry on with a complete package in Iyer.
Rahul Tripathi: The last match was tough for him but there is always a new beginning with a new game. Rahul will be eager to start from level zero and go berserk against a young bowling unit of Punjab Kings.
Nitish Rana: He began the season as an opener and after the Covid break he has been doing a great job as a middle-order batter. He has been consistent in the last couple of encounters and the team would heavily rely upon his capabilities in the next game.
Eoin Morgan (C): Morgan's leadership has been rock-solid in the second phase of the league but his batting form has been a major concern. To everyone's surprise, he is yet to score in double digits on UAE soil. His team and fans would definitely want him to score, given that he would be leading his national team in the T20 World after a couple of weeks.
Dinesh Karthik (wk): After a wonderful commentary stint in the UK, Karthik is bad to his usual business and has been doing a decent work out there. But he is still required to convert the good starts he is getting on the field. And behind the stumps, he has always been an asset.
Sunil Narine: The Caribbean spinner has turned more lethal with the kind of mysterious deliveries he's been bowling. Whenever the skipper needs a wicket, he approaches Narine to get the job done within no time. His batting, rather fireworks, is yet to be watched this season though.
Varun Chakravarthy: The go-to spinner of KKR who has cemented his position by being consistent. He remained wicketless in the last game but that won't bother him much because he knows how to get back into the grind.
Shakib Al Hasan: With one all-rounder out injured in Andre Russell, the door might just open for the ace Bangladesh all-rounder to play his first match for KKR since the tournament restarted in the UAE.
Sandeep Warrier: It was a tough debut for Sandeep who returned wicketless the other and conceded runs at a rate of 7.50 per over. But one game isn't enough to justify his strength. He needed to be groomed properly and another game could instil the much-needed confidence in him.
Lockie Ferguson: If Chakravarthy and Narine are mystery spinners, the Kiwi bowler has to be the mystery man in the pace bowling department. He is one of the vital cogs in KKR's attack and will be raring to go against PBKS tonight.