Mumbai, March 31 (IANS) The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is just five days into its over two-month schedule and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are getting ready to play the third match of their campaign.
Having started with a stunning victory against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on the opening day, KKR slumped to a three-wicket defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the D.Y Patil Stadium on Wednesday.
On Friday, the Shreyas Iyer-led KKR will take on Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium, with both teams looking to register their second win in the event.
Punjab Kings had started their campaign with a five-wickets win against RCB in their first match.
Though it is too early in the tournament, Punjab Kings will hope to maintain their good start. The Kings have not been that successful in the IPL, their best season was way back in 2014 when they reached the final, which improved on their third place in the inaugural edition in 2008.
KKR, in contrast, have won the IPL twice — 2012 and 2014 and also hold a huge advantage in head-to-head encounters, having won 19 of their 29 clashes. Though they had won a match each in the last edition, KKR had finished runner-up while PBKS ended sixth, missing the playoffs once again.
This time both franchises have assembled strong squads and will be hoping to make a good start in IPL 2022.
Chasing 206 for victory against RCB, PBKS rode on useful contributions by skipper Mayank Agarwal (32), fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan (43), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (43) and some quick runs by Odean Smith (25 off 8) to romp to victory.
PBKS skipper Agarwal will be looking forward to a better performance from his bowlers who had conceded 200-plus score in their opening match.
While their batters carried PBKS to victory in a high-scoring encounter, KKR were all out for 128 in 18.5 overs against RCB and skipper Shreyas Iyer will be hoping their batting to click in their next match.
He himself will be hoping to fire in Friday’s match and will also be expecting that the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Nitesh Rana and Sunil Narine too come good early in the tournament.
All in all, Iyer will be happy if KKR manage to capitalise on their head-to-head record against PBKS and record another win.