Punjab Kings have 8 points from eleven matches and the KL Rahul-led side will have to win their three remaining matches including tonight’s clash with KKR to be in contention for a place in the play-offs.
Lara felt Punjab Kings’ batting, which has failed to fire so far in the second phase, has to click for them to have a chance of making it into the top four.
“Yeah I think so, they have the capability. They are not playing great cricket at the moment. Their batting has just always been their strength and that has come up very short,” Lara said on Star Sports show GAME PLAN.
“Nicholas Pooran, and Chris Gayle got out on a couple of opportunities even their captain as well KL Rahul and they miss Mayank Agarwal. So for me, their batting is the one thing that they depended on in the past.”
Lara also acknowledged Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi’s performance with the ball, but the West Indian added the bowlers will need bigger totals to defend.
“They post big totals and try to defend it and if they don’t post big totals, they find it very difficult with the bowling attack that they have. Ravi Bishnoi is performing well and Mohammed Shami as you know is a professional and they expect that from him.
“Their batting has to be clicking and if they do click they give themselves that slight chance, it doesn’t mean that they can pull it off but they give themselves a better chance than they have been giving themselves in recent matches,” Lara explained.
PBKS will be without the services of the T20 legend Chris Gayle as the swashbuckling batsman left the bio-bubble on the eve of Friday’s match against KKR.
Meanwhile, KKR come into the contest with three wins out of four in the UAE leg and are on course to make the top four. KKR have 10 points from 11 matches and sit in fourth spot thanks to better NRR compared to Mumbai Indians, who also have 10 points.
Although they have dominated in their wins, star opener Gill’s form has been a slight concern for the Knights. In the four innings so far, Gill has scores of 48, 13, 9 and 30. While, it doesn’t look bad on paper, it’s not the scores one expects from their star opener.
However, the West Indies batting legend said Gill is just a match away from regaining his form and explained why KKR wouldn’t consider replacing the opener in the matches ahead.
“This guy (Shubman Gill), he is a bit unlucky, if you look at him bat, he is in some form, alright. And I believe he’s just a match away from a big score,” Lara said.
“I think he gels really well with Iyer (Venkatesh) and I believe that both of them can come together and make something special, but replacing Shubman Gill now is not something that KKR wants to do,” he added.
With race for a play-off spot heating up, Punjab Kings and KKR will clash on Friday (October 1) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai.
(With inputs from Agency)
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