With seven losses and six wins, KKR sits sixth with 12 points and they not only need to win, but do it by a wide margin and then hope other results come their way to salvage any hope of making the knockout stage .
LSG already have one foot in the playoffs as they sit in third place with 16 points, but with a number of teams jostling for the remaining three spots, they will look to add two more points to avoid last-minute hiccups avoid .
Two-time former champions KKR, who reached the final last year, kept their theoretical chances alive after performing well in their last two games against Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Shreya’s Iyer’s men rode Andre Russell’s all-around brilliance and near-perfect bowler execution to earn a comprehensive 54-run win over SRH in their final game.
While Russell and Sam Billings raised KKR to 177/6 to set up the win, the top order again failed to produce the goods after being reduced to 72 for 3.
Ajinkya Rahane’s struggle at the top was evident as he struggled to switch shots while Venkatesh Iyer also continued to disappoint in his second season.
Nitish Rana has blown hot and cold while Skipper Iyer’s racquet has been silent in the last three games.
KKR also lost pace on spearhead Pat Cummins, who was out with a hip injury, but it didn’t matter much as the Kolkata side put on an outstanding bowling performance recently.
Back in the team after recovering from a calf muscle injury, Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee held things tight while Russell snapped three crucial wickets.
Spin duo Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy were also in their elements and KKR is hoping for another clinical show from their bowling unit.
LSG, on the other hand, comes into play after two defeats in a row and has to put on an improved show to crown it all.
The main concern for LSG is their poor batting show in the last two games, with the batsmen struggling on the power play against quality bowling.
Batting LSG will depend heavily on skipper KL Rahul, who has scored the majority of goals with two hundreds but has not been in color in the last three games.
Other opener Quinton de Kock, who has scored three and a half centuries, was also sent off on 11 and 7 points in the last two games, adding to the team’s troubles.
However, Deepak Hooda was rock solid and it was his fifty that kept LSG in the hunt in the final game.
Youngster Ayush Badoni will also be keen to prove he’s no one-game wonder, while Krunal Pandya also needs to move to the back end of the tournament.
LSG will also look to make better use of Marcus Stoinis as he is one of the most prolific all-rounders in world cricket.
Bowling has proven to be a weak link for LSG, although players like Avesh Khan and Jason Holder have delivered with 17 and 14 wickets so far, but Mohsin Khan was brought to the cleaners in the last game.
Spinner Ravi Bishnoi picked up two wickets against Rajasthan Royals and LSG would expect him to tie things up in the mid overs on Wednesday.
Teams (from): Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Quinton De Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chameera, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya. Jason Holder.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Aaron Finch, Abhijeet Tomar, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Indrajith, Nitish Rana, Pratham Singh, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer (C), Ashok Sharma, Pat Cummins, Rasikh Dar, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy, Aman Khan , Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohammed Nabi, Ramesh Kumar, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson.
Game date: Wednesday, April 18
Game starts at 7:30pm IST
Broadcast live: Star Sports Networks
Live Streaming: Disney + HotStar
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