In-form Rajasthan takes on red hot Kolkata; Match Preview

In-form Rajasthan takes on red hot Kolkata
 

With three back to back victories coming at a time when they were on the verge of elimination, a confident Rajasthan Royals (RR) outfit will be looking to battle it out with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as both teams look for a playoffs spot. Having accumulated the same number of points from as many games, the winners from this game will no doubt be on stronger footing as compared to the other one.

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals

May 15, 2018

20:00 hours IST

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

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Kolkata Knight Riders – WLLWW

Rajasthan Royals - WWWLL

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For RR, their fortunes have been changed by Jos Buttler, who has single handedly taken them past daunting totals with little support from the middle order. Although Ajinkya Rahane did score vital runs in the last game, his scoring rate will need to pick up if the Royals are to remain competitive. They have also been backed up brilliantly with the ball by Jofra Archer, who has no doubt been the find of the tournament for them. With Ben Stokes’ bowling coming into the groove as well, things look good for the Royals.

What they will be hoping for is to have Ish Sodhi back into their ranks as he has been fantastic for them in the matches that he has played. The opposite has been the case with D’Arcy Short, who has failed to make it big after being the player of the season in the Big Bash League. The challenge for the Royals would be to contain the likes of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell after the former went berserk in KKR’s last game against Kings XI Punjab.

Scores of 245 are not made every day and KKR will be aware of that fact. They will also know very well that the knock played by Narine does not guarantee them a consistent run of form, unlike Buttler for the Royals. Their decision to give Javon Searles a game for Tom Curran may not have paid dividends although one could say that even Narine was taken to the cleaners on the flat Indore wicket.

Crucial matches demand performances from experienced players and this is the stage where Dinesh Karthik will be hoping for some quality runs from Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa. Both these batsmen have been well below their destructive capabilities and with Russell not exactly at the peak of his fitness levels, they will need more from their star batsmen.

The key battles once again would be between Narine and Buttler on one side and Archer and Russell on the other. That doesn’t mean that the other players are not expected to put up a good show and people like Jaydev Unadkat and Kuldeep Yadav would be looking forward to making an impact with the ball as well.

Probable XI’s

Tom Curran could come back in for Javon Searles.

Kolkata Knight RidersSunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav

Should he recover from his illness, Ish Sodhi should slot back in for D’Arcy Short which would also bring Prashant Chopra back in for Shreyas Gopal.

Rajasthan RoyalsAjinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Prashant Chopra/D’Arcy Short, Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ish Sodhi/Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni

Trivia

  • It took 10 years for KKR to surpass their total of 222/3 which they made in their first ever IPL game. However, no KKR player has scored a century since Brendon McCullum’s 158 not out in that game back in 2008
  • KKR’s score of 245 in the last game is the highest total in an IPL match without a century and the joint second highest in all T20s. The only bigger total without a century is Sri Lanka’s 260 against Kenya in the 2007 World T20
  • Jos Buttler has been on a record breaking spree –
    • He has now equaled Virender Sehwag’s record of five consecutive 50 plus scores in IPL. In all T20s, only Hamilton Masakadza and Kamran Akmal are the others to have achieved this feat
    • He has now three consecutive 75 plus scores in the IPL and joins Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli as the other players to have achieved this feat
    • He became just the second batsmen to have made two consecutive 90 plus scores in the IPL. Shane Watson achieved this feat back in 2013

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