Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab
3.30 BST Live on ITV4
One of the surprising aspects of this year's IPL has been the fall of the Kolkata Knight Riders. On any rational analysis of this competition last year's champions should not be grubbing around at the bottom of the table with the likes of Pune.
Yet this is exactly what has happened. Just two wins from seven matches leave the Knight Riders third from last and defeat here will drop them a place further down on net run rate.
Figuring out what has gone wrong for Gautam Gambhir's men seems to be almost impossible. They've got one of the greatest all-rounders of all time in Jacques Kallis, the mercurial talents of Eoin Morgan, and last season's sensation Sunil Narine to name but three, yet they can't scrape a win for love nor money.
On Wednesday they took on the fading Mumbai Indians, scored a respectable 159 (including 26 from the opening over) and still managed to lose. Expect them to at last give a chance to big-hitting New Zealander Brendon McCullum in place of Sri Lankan spinner Sachithra Senananyake, who conceded a round 50 runs in his four overs against Mumbai.
By contrast to their hosts, Kings XI are on something of a rise, despite the repeated failures of captain Adam Gilchrist at the top of the batting order.
Their bowlers were the stars on Tuesday as they comfortably beat bottom side Delhi, with Praveen Kumar, Parvinder Awana and Harmeet Singh showing you don't need to rely upon overseas bowlers to win you games in these conditions.
Then, after another Gilchrist failure, South African David Miller steered them home for the second game in succession, this time with an unbeaten 34.
Miller's form has been a real bonus for Punjab, as has that of Mandeep Singh, who has been something of a revelation at the top of the order. In fact, for once, Kings XI look like a team who are greater than the sum of their parts, the one week link being Gilchrist.
The problem they have is to replace him they would have to find another wicketkeeper as well as bringing in another overseas player, and there is no other recognised keeper in their squad.
This will be Kolkata's sixth game at Eden Gardens. Both of their wins have come there but so have three hefty defeats. There's a chance of some light rain around the start time of this game but that shouldn't last long and will give way to hot and clear night. That could be good news for Punjab's army of native seamers.
Kolkata are trading at 1.63 which looks very short for a side with a losing record both at home and in the competition generally. Kings XI aren't the greatest road team but they're on a winning roll and 2.46 look to be good odds.
Only two Kolkata batsmen have shown any sort of consistency over the course of the competition so far, Gambhir and Morgan. They can't be expected to carry the Knight Riders forever, though, and it is time for someone else to step up.
Kallis has been paid on his reputation without turning in the batting performances that warrant it and averages fewer runs per innings than a complete rabbit such as Narine. His performances so far mean he should be available at at least 5.0 to top score in this match which are long odds indeed for a player of his calibre.
It isn't often you get to tip an Indian batsmen in the IPL. The big names are always at short odds and the other local players often don't get the chances their talent deserves simply due to the weight of overseas players.
Mandeep Singh is something of an exception though. As Gilchrist's opening partner he has shouldered the burden his captain should have and has scored 50 more runs than any other Punjab batsman. Despite this he'll still be around 4.7 simply because the attention will be on bigger names.
Back Kings XI Punjab at 2.46 to win