Lynn-less KKR look to start home run with win against KXIP
Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders would be wary of a transformed and formidable Kings XI Punjab in their Indian Premier League face-off at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
The Purple Brigade, champions in 2012 and 2014, may boast of a 13-6 win-loss record against the perennial bridesmaid but the scenario looks different, especially in the context of an injured Chris Lynn, the leading run-getter of the season.
The Aussie had become IPL's latest batting sensation after his 41-ball 93 not out in a record 184-run opening stand with Gautam Gambhir (76 from 48) handed Gujarat Lions a 10- wicket rout in the opening match.
But Lynn aggravated an old injury in his left shoulder against Mumbai Indians where KKR suffered a four-wicket loss.
Lynn had undergone surgery on the same shoulder in 2014 and the injury returned to haunt him, throwing his IPL campaign in disarray even as an official word was still awaited.
While Lynn looks doubtful starter against KXIP, KKR, however, will be boasted by the return of star India pacer Umesh Yadav who has joined the team on Tuesday.
The pacer had complained of right hip and lower back soreness to miss the first two KKR matches after a gruelling home season where he played 12 of the 13 Tests and was instrumental in India's 2-1 win over Australia.
On spin-friendly conditions, Yadav was incisive with his new-found rhythm as he gave vital breakthroughs to finish the season as India's third-highest wicket-taker behind Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Yadav is likely to replace Ankit Rajpoot, who gave away 19 runs in the penultimate over against Mumbai, who chased down KKR's challenging 178 with a ball to spare.