Kolkata Knight Riders V Rajasthan Royals Match Preview
The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League has reached it’s business end. After almost a month and half long drama, the time has come to decide which two teams will be fighting for prestigious trophy. With the aim of marching one step ahead towards the Final, two time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will lock horns with inaugural edition champions Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens, the home of KKR.
● Match Details:
○ Match: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals
Eliminator, Indian Premier League, 2018
○ Date:Wednesday, May 23, 2018
○ Time:01:30 PM GMT
○ Venue:Eden Gardens, Kolkata
● Squad Analysis and Probable Lineup:
○ Kolkata Knight Riders:
Having to play the eliminator at the Eden Gardens would be a gift for the KKR. They are coming on the back of three consecutive victories to make their way to the playoffs and are having a pretty much settled XI with the inclusion of Javon Searles.
Their batsmen have had a good run with the Narine-Lynn opening pair providing the required impetus at the top, backed by the finishing skills of the captain Karthik and the Calypso king Andre Russell. Dinesh Karthik’s batting has been a revelation this season, time and time finishing the innings on a high for the team. Robin Utthappa has been in great touch but hasn’t been able to convert the starts. Chris Lynn has been consistent right throughout the season albeit his strike-rate has been quite lesser than that he is known for.
The spinners lead by Narine have been productive for the Knight Riders while the pacers haven’t been able to impress. The inclusion of Prasidh Krishna has worked as wonder for the team and their seemingly never ending overseas-pacer tryst seemed to have ended in the name of Javon Searles.
•X-FACTOR: Sunil Narine
Dinesh Karthik (C & WK), Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, Nitish Rana, Javon Searles, Prasidh Krishna, Shubman Gill
○ Rajasthan Royals:
After having a quiet first half of the IPL 2018, Royals quickly changed their fortunes by winning consistently at the business end of the season. They’ve been helped by other teams’ results in their course of qualifying for the playoffs.
Their batsmen led by Rahane haven’t been able to score consistently. Buttler’s promotion up the order in the second-half of the season helped their cause but he had left for England missing their last game of the season along with Stokes. Rahul Tripathi has turned out good after his return to his favoured opening position while Sanju Samson has looked to have teed off after starting the season on a high. Rahane has never found the form the team and he himself had expected. Krishnappa Goutham has been excellent right throughout, striking the ball over the boundary right from his first ball at the crease. But Goutham’s batting position has been lower down the order and the top order batsmen have failed to scored the runs in the middle overs putting pressure on Goutham to finish the innings on a high. RR would be looking to tinker with their batting combination as was evident in their final league stage game against RCB.
Royals’ bowling has been good since the arrival of Jofra Archer. Archer’s express pace and expert accuracy has helped him pick wickets at the start and as well as in the death. Shreyas Gopal and Ish Sodhi ran riots against RCB, and Rajasthan Royals would be hoping for them to repeat similar performances against KKR on an Eden Gardens pitch, which aids the spinners.
• X-FACTOR: Jofra Archer
○ Playing XI:
Ajinkya Rahane (C) , Stuart Binny, Ben Laughlin, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Ish Sodhi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Jofra Archer
● Writer’s Take :
The Knight Riders seem to have an upper hand in this Eliminator as the match is being played on their home ground, Eden Gardens. But the home ground and home fans’ pressure might have a negative effect in this high-intense playoff. The Royals have been unpredictable and it is to be waited to find out if their unpredictability and underdog tags work in their favour.