IPL Eliminator - Kolkata favourites at home against lucky Rajasthan
The Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be hoping for luck to remain on their side as they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the elimination game between the third and the fourth spot. Having had results go their way to make it to the top four, there is no denying the fact that they do have the rub of the green on their side and they will definitely need some more of it if they are to beat KKR in their own den.
May 23, 2018
19:00 hours IST
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Kolkata Knight Riders – WWWLL
Rajasthan Royals – WLWWW
Face-to-face during league stages: KKR won by six wickets; KKR won by seven wickets
Having won only one out of six games at Kolkata against the Knight Riders in the IPL, the odds are definitely stacked against the Royals, who put up a spirited performance in their last game, in spite of the absence of their big players. KKR, on the other hand, will be coming into the game with their tails up, having beaten the table toppers in their last game.
At the start of the tournament, KKR looked like a team which was very thin on resources, but the way they have managed to win eight games needs to be lauded. Dinesh Karthik has copped quite a lot of criticism at times for his decisions, but the manner in which he has backed his young players and has played himself has been exemplary. His finishing abilities have risen to another level and his strike rate too has been phenomenal so far.
One must also make special mention of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine. While Lynn is known for his bashing abilities, he has played more of a subdued role this season, but has blended it with maturity to take his team out of troubled waters at times. Narine, on the other hand, has developed as a proper all-rounder and has outshone the likes of Ben Stokes and Hardik Pandya. While his control with the ball remains as good as ever was, his batting has gone up quite a few notches.
The Royals will no doubt be feeling the heat without Jos Buttler. Rahul Tripathi did have one good game at last and he will be hoping to double that number. Ajinkya Rahane should open the batting and not Jofra Archer as his best bet is to utilize the six powerplay overs. It remains to be seen whether Rajasthan play all their three spinners in this game. They did break the back of the Bangalore batting and would be looking to do the same this time as well. Jofra Archer versus
Andre Russell could be one of the key battles for this game and it will be interesting to see how the lanky pacer bowls against the big hitting Russell. Kuldeep Yadav put on a fantastic display last time these two teams played and he too would be looking to bamboozle a few batsmen with his bag of tricks.
With quality bowlers on both sides, this should make for an exciting contest. Superior batting gives Kolkata the edge over Rajasthan. However, they should not take the Royals lightly as they are capable of punching above their weight when the situation demands them to do so! The Royals might miss their strategist cum mentor in Shane Warne, who is back home in Australia, but that should not deter them from putting up another spirited performance!
Expect unchanged elevens from both sides.
Kolkata Knight Riders – Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav
Rajasthan Royals – Ajinkya Rahane(c), Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Stuart Binny, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin
- The last time RR defeated KKR at the Eden Gardens was back in 2008 in the inaugural edition of the IPL
- In successful run chases this year for KKR, Dinesh Karthik has had scores of 35* (29 balls), 42* (23 b), 23 (10 b), 45* (18b), 41* (31 b) and 26* (22 b)
- Sunil Narine has scored 327 runs this season, which is a 103 more than what he managed last season. In five previous seasons combined, he had only 47 runs to his name!
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