Of the four playoff spots, three are still there to be had, with only title-holders Gujarat Titans having assured themselves of a top-two finish.
Talking about the game, the Lucknow players may feel at home donning green and maroon of Kolkata’s football giants Mohun Bagan, whereas the actual home team, KKR, have not only complained of being let down by the conditions but their problems also go deeper, having struggled to find a perfect winning combination in a topsy-turvy season, enduring seven defeats. Out of those seven, four losses were at the Eden Gardens.
IPL POINTS TABLE | SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Be it the batting, which still seems to be a work in progress, the bowling, especially pace department, has also looked terribly short on experience.
In fielding, they have made a mockery of themselves with some of the efforts suggesting that the two-time champions have showed they do not ‘belong’ at this level.
KKR batters simply have not been able to adapt to the surface while batting first as they scored below-par totals of 179/7 and 149/8 against Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals respectively.
Putting things into perspective, CSK and SRH scored 235/4 and 228/4 when they were put into bat by KKR at the same venue.
IPL PREDICTION HUB
Courtesy, some individual brilliance from Rinku Singh and Varun Chakravarthy, the KKR still are lucky to have been able to keep their campaign alive in ‘blow hot-n-cold’ season.
With a heavy mid-table traffic, there is a possibility of four teams to be locked on 14 points with the one with a superior net run-rate making the playoffs.
Hanging by the thread, KKR with 12 points would not only need to win by a big margin, but they have to rely on Punjab Kings (vs Rajasthan Royals), Gujarat Titans (vs Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (Mumbai Indians) to win their respective matches.
LSG, however, do not have to fret so much about the mathematical scenarios as a win would be enough for them to seal their back-to-back playoff berth.
On momentum too, LSG look far superior to a struggling KKR who have struggled to get into the act at their home den.
Elevated to captaincy after KL Rahul’s pull-out because of injury at the business end of the season, Krunal Pandya looked a natural leader, especially the way he managed to choke Mumbai Indians while defending 177 speaks volumes about his captaincy.
Not only did he look heavily involved, his tactical bowling changes paved the way for their slender five-run win the other day.
Marcus Stoinis is proving to be the crisis man for LSG and was the difference in their stunning win over MI.
He brought all his experience into count to score an 89 not out to revive their innings from being 35/3.
In bowling Mohsin Khan has been a revelation as he along with spinner Ravi Bishnoi would look to relish the slow conditions of Eden.
LSG, who will be donning a special edition Mohun Bagan colours, will further be bolstered by the support of the football heavyweights with both the teams have the same owner, RP Sanjiv Goenka Group.
Behind the scenes, LSG mentor Gautam Gambhir, who led KKR to their two triumphs in 2012 and 2014, will add all the valuable inputs.
KKR will undoubtedly give it their all, hoping to end the season on a winning note and spoil Lucknow’s party.
(With agency inputs)