Rahul will be eyeing the match between Kolkata and Lucknow

Pune, May 6 (PTI) Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will have to be wary of their in-form skipper KL Rahul when they take on Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Saturday. Huh.

Lucknow has won seven out of 10 matches due to Rahul’s brilliant batting and is second in the points table with 14 points.

While Lucknow’s team is close to securing a place in the playoffs, KKR will have to win this match at any cost if they want to keep their hopes alive. They have eight points from four wins from 10 matches and are currently in eighth place.

Rahul is in excellent form right now. He has scored 451 runs in 10 matches which includes two centuries and as many fifties. He played a crucial innings of 77 runs in the six-run victory against Delhi Capitals in the previous match. It will be a big challenge for KKR bowlers Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Shivam Mavi and Sunil Narine to stop Rahul.

But other Lucknow batsmen like Quinton de Kock, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda and Krunal Pandya also need to take more responsibility. Apart from this, the performance of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder will also matter a lot.

Fast bowler Mohsin Khan, who took four wickets in the last match, is doing better in every next match but Dushmantha Chamira, Holder and Pandya will have to put aside their poor performance against Delhi and start afresh.

Four overs each from spinners Ravi Bishnoi and K Gautam will also be crucial.

Meanwhile, the biggest concern for KKR is its openers who are struggling to score runs. KKR tried various combinations at the top of the order but none worked.

If Aaron Finch and Baba Inderjit open the innings again, then both will have to bat aggressively.

Captain Shreyas Iyer has scored 324 runs in 10 matches, which is not in line with his talent. He has scored only two half-centuries. He has to lead from the front and play a big innings.

KKR’s team management, however, will be happy that their middle-order batsmen Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played match-winning innings against Rajasthan. The pair, along with aggressive Andre Russell, could dominate Lucknow’s bowling attack.

KKR may rope in spinner Anukul Roy, who performed well in the previous match. KKR had broken five consecutive defeats by winning this match against Rajasthan Royals.

The teams are as follows:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Aaron Finch, Abhijit Tomar, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Inderjit, Nitish Rana, Pratham Singh, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ashok Sharma, Pat Cummins, Rasikh Dar, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakraborty, Aman Khan, Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohammad Nabi, Ramesh Kumar, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson.

Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (Captain), Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Quinton de Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chamira, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajput, Avesh Khan, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis. Kyle Meyers, Karan Sharma, Krishnappa Gautam, Aayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Jason Holder.

The match will start at 7.30 pm Indian time.