Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will host Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 clash at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday after the visiting franchise skipper Ravichandran Ashwin took the centre-stage for 'mankading' Jos Buttler during the match with Rajasthan Royals (RR). It was Ravichandran Ashwin's 'mankading' of Buttler that had triggered a dramatic collapse with KXIP restricting RR to 170 for nine to notch up a 14-run win on Monday. KKR also won their opening match of the season but KXIP are in a better position in the points table due to superior net run rate.
KXIP's biggest star Chris Gayle scored a 47-ball 79 and his Jamaican rivalry with compatriot Andre Russell, who also looked in blistering touch for KKR, will be one of the sub-plots of the clash in Kolkata.
Gayle, who will retire from ODIs after the 2019 World Cup, has been in sensational form, smashing 39 sixes in the five-match ODI series against England and set the record for most sixes by a batsman in international cricket.
A typical slow starter, Gayle was 14 off 18 balls but the opener hit top gear in the 12th over hammering Jaydev Unadkat for four successive boundaries.
A former KKR player, Gayle knows Eden Gardens like the back of his hand as he would look to continue his assault on the spin-oriented KKR attack.
Russell will be KKR's answer to Gayle as the KKR star also fashioned a sensational win, smashing an unbeaten 49 from 19 balls in their opening fixture against SunRisers Hyderabad here two days ago.
The win saw their star spinner and explosive opener Sunil Narine hurt his finger and KKR would hope he is fit in time.
KKR will embark on a crucial four-match away sojourn after this and they would look to keep their momentum intact before they return home to face Delhi Capitals on April 12.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, KC Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.
Kings XI Punjab: R Ashwin (capt), Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Sarfaraz Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, K L Rahul, Ankit Rajpoot, Mandeep Singh, Simran Singh, Mayank Agrawal, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and David Miller.
Match starts 8pm IST.
(With PTI inputs)