Punjab ready for KKR challenge in IPL today

IPL's newest sensation Venkatesh Iyer's footwork or the lack of it will be put through a stern test against the sharp googlies bowled by Ravi Bishnoi when Kolkata Knight Riders square off against a beleaguered Punjab Kings here today.

Knights all-rounder Venkatesh has caught everyone's attention with his fearless strokeplay against genuine pace but Bishnoi's wrist spin has troubled the best in the business during the last two editions.

It will be the biggest match-up in the game which is very important for KL Rahul's Punjab Kings if they have any intentions of staying afloat in the competition. Rahul had admitted after the defeat against Mumbai that his team has not played well under pressure and needs to put up a better fight.

The poor show from the middle-order has also hurt them badly as only Rahul (422 runs) and his opening partner Mayank Agarwal (332 runs) have found some form. Universe Boss' Chris Gayle, with 193 runs from 10 games, has been the biggest disappointment.

Likewise, Nicholas Pooran, the highly rated West Indies dasher, has managed only 70 runs in 10 knocks which perfectly summarises Punjab Kings' troubles. The Indian talent has also not come to the party as far as batting is concerned with both M Shahrukh Khan and Deepak Hooda not making the best use of the opportunities that they have got so far.

There have been way too many batting collapses and it will be a challenge of sorts for these players to face Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy on a slow track.