Free cricket betting tips: Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine

Richard Mann previews the Indian Premier League clash between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders and fancies the visitors to triumph.

Recommended bets: Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders

3pts Kolkata Knight Riders to beat Kings XI Punjab at 19/20

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The Indian Premier League is beginning to hot up now with the battle for playoff spots intensifying.

Punjab and Kolkata are two of the teams fighting for one of those spots, making their clash on Saturday a must-win for both.

Kolkata have a rich history in this competition having lifted the trophy in 2012 and 2014 and despite a slight shake up in personnel this season, they remain one of the most dangerous outfits in the IPL with a host of match-winners within their ranks.

In Chris Lynn, they have one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket and he has shown plenty of signs of late that he is returning to something like his best form.

Captain Dinesh Karthik and new signing Nitish Rana help form a solid top-order while the electric Andre Russell must be one of the most frightening finishers in the competition, 218 runs at a strike-rate of 187.93 this season doing little to dispel that theory.

Andre Russell
Andre Russell

For once, Kolkata's bowling has proved a greater concern for them with Sunil Narine seemingly lacking the same aura he used to possess and fellow spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla yet to fire like they can.

The boys in purple also appear to be lacking a dose of genuine pace, something Morne Morkel once provided, and Tom Curran has failed to prove the replacement for the injured Mitchell Starc that he would have hoped.

Kolkata are still punching hard, though, and despite a couple of recent defeats to the impressive Mumbai Indians, they remain in the mix for a playoff place.

Though under a little bit of pressure, their classy spin attack should have far too many tricks for a Punjab batting line-up that is proving increasingly reliant on the excellent KL Rahul and they have now lost three of their last four games having made such an excellent start to IPL2018.

KL RAHUL
KL Rahul is developing into a high-class player

Rahul has made scores of 23, 32, 24, 84 not out and 95 not out in his last five innings but has had very little support, Chris Gayle's early form subsiding a little and Punjab's flaky middle order continuing to struggle.

In Punjab's recent defeat to Rajasthan Royals, the next top score after Rahul's 95* was 11 from Marcus Stoinis and Kolkata's spinners will fancy their chances against such a stuttering line-up.

They will also know that if they can capture Rahul's wicket early, there could be some easy pickings for them to feast on later in the innings.

Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin will no doubt be disappointed with his side's recent slump and he has appeared powerless to halt it, despite himself, AJ Tye and Mujeeb Ur Rahman forming the basis of a solid bowling attack.

Kolkata look far too big at 19/20 and should be supported accordingly.

Posted at 1345 BST on 11/05/18.

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