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Ipl 2018
KKR Vs Kings XI Punjab: 35th match will be a close call
Tonight, the 35th IPL match, is likely to be closely fought when Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab face each other at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Though the Riders have an advantage of the home ground, it would be tough for Gautam Gambhir to lead his team to a smooth win.

Currently placed at seventh position in the point table, the defending champions will be facing Kings XI who is in good form after two consecutive wins, and obtaining the fifth position in the points table. With four wins in seven matches Kings XI looks stronger than KKR who has managed two wins in their seven fixtures.

After winning its opening match quite easily KKR's performance dropped drastically and the team managed only one win in the next six matches. On the other hand, initially looking weak, Kings XI took all by surprise by their sudden rise - backed by runs from David Miller and Mandeep Singh in the last two matches against Pune Warriors India and Delhi Daredevils.

Though KKR skipper Gataum Gambhir is expected to put in another good performance at the Eden Gardens, the issue of concern for KKR will be the fluctuating forms of Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan which is putting more pressure on the skipper as a win is very crucial for him to regenerate confidence among his boys. After loosing their previous match against the Mumbai Indians on the last ball of the match bowled by Rajat Bhatia, which was put away for a boundary, KKR has not able to defend even 159 runs, which was a competitive total in this IPL.

In terms of bowling, KKR would be depending too much on its mystery spinner Sunil Narine who also holds a Purple Cap of a tournament by taking 14 wickets. But question remains over the playing of Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary who are doubtful owing to injuries. If either of them miss today's game it will be a blow to the team.

It also could turn out to be a blessing in disguise if it could make room for the destructive Brendon McCullum at the top who is still waiting his first turn with the bat in dug-out, and Brett Lee who has played only once in IPL 2013.

Although it would be hard for Kings XI to face the 'Khelbo Ladbo Jeetbo' passion of KKR at the home ground, it still it holds an upper hand after winning against KKR in thier last encounter on April 16 in which they managed to register a close win by 4 runs at their home ground at Mohali.

But a matter of concern for the guest team in today's match is that its skipper Adam Gilchrist is yet to explode with his destructive form. Though younger players are scoring but the Australian has only managed 67 runs in seven innings and this record for a player of his stature and experience, do not do justice. Thus his form is going to play an important role to keep his boys' confidence up till the very end.

For their bowling attack, Harmeet Singh of Kings XI is bowling at a decent average of 8.00, but in today's match the team also needs to be lucky in terms of how the pitch will behave. The bowling attack though faces a stiff challenge in today's contest given that they are likely to encounter a slow surface and not the juicy tracks that their pacers have thrived on.

Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of both the teams, it looks like that today there will be another interesting and close match, and the audience will be watching to see whether Kings XI plays and improves further in the points table or KKR plays to win to stay in contention to defend its championship crown.

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