Rinku Singh is X-factor for Kolkata Knight Riders, not Andre Russell: Harbhajan Singh
Mumbai, Maharashtra: As we enter the last weekend of the league stage in the IPL 2023, we are yet to have the remaining three teams to have qualified for the playoffs.
The Race to Playoffs in IPL 2023 continues to get interesting as we enter the last weekend of the league stage of the toughest T20. Five teams are still in contention for the remaining three seats in the top four as four interesting battles in IPL 2023 await us in two days.
Chennai Super Kings will take on Delhi Capitals in their bid to qualify for the playoffs in the afternoon game on Super Saturday, and later tonight Kolkata Knight Riders host Lucknow Super Giants in the evening encounter. A win will confirm a playoff berth for CSK and LSG while DC and KKR will be coming out to spoil the opposition's party and complicate things further.
Former India cricketer S Sreesanth has hailed young India batter Prithvi Shaw for his match-winning half-century against Punjab Kings. Shaw - who had a turbulent TATA IPL 2023 - got a chance after warming the benches for almost a month. The talented right-handed batter made a vital contribution with the bat in Dharamsala and team management must be hoping the Mumbaikar ends the season on a high.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, S Sreesanth said, "I am very happy with Prithvi Shaw for getting some runs against his name at the back end of the season. He punished the short-pitched deliveries from the new ball bowlers and will look to continue that against CSK as well."
Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana is another youngster who will be the centre of attraction in the game. The CSK fast bowler has done well so far for the Yellow Army and will play another important role in a must-win game for the side.
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh reckons the young pacer has been utilised well by captain MS Dhoni and the bowling coach Dwayne Bravo is nurturing him well.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Harbhajan Singh said, "Pathirana has been utilised brilliantly by MS Dhoni. He chokes the flow of runs from his end. It is very difficult to pick up a bowler with his unique action. CSK bowling coach Dwyane Bravo has guided him well and the youngster is performing Bravo's role for CSK."
In the second game of the doubleheader Saturday, LSG face KKR at Eden Gardens and the Krunal Pandya-led side will face an uphill task to beat a spirited KKR.
Former India cricketer Mohammed Kaif believes Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis - who has been firing all cylinders lately - will be key for the Super Giants in a virtual quarter-final.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Kaif said, "Stoinis has the ability to change the course of the match single-handedly. The way he hits sixes even on yorkers proves how much power he generates. He is a very intelligent batsman and plays according to the situation."
KKR will be hoping to finish their last league game on a high. Win will be on the minds of Nitish Rana & Co. as they play at home for one last time in this edition. In Rinku Singh - who has been the find of this IPL 2023 - they have found a new finisher.
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh opined Rinku Singh was the X-factor for KKR this season and not Andre Russell, which is a massive shift.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Harbhajan Singh said, "Now Rinku has become the X-factor for KKR, not Russell. Russell's era is gone. It's Rinku's time now. Even if Rinku is sent up, he can do justice to his role. He is a player of different calibre and we will soon see India cap on his head."