The Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens in another must-win clash for both teams. The match between Rajasthan and Mumbai saw one team’s bid for the playoff severely jolted, and this fixture is going to put a spanner in another team’s plans.
As many as five teams are vying for the remaining two playoff slots. A loss will see either team’s destiny being snatched from their hands, and a victory would all but guarantee qualification. Can KKR end RRs three-match streak, or will Rajasthan make it four in four?
Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D'Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna.
Where the teams stand
Rajasthan have won all their previous three games, and all three have seen Buttler score in excess of 80. The team’s formula of giving unestablished names a chance to prove themselves has worked once again, with Buttler taking on the mantle as RR’s match winner this season. However, they have looked hopelessly resigned to their fate when he is removed from the equation. The rest of the batting has simply failed to fire, regardless of how many changes Rahane makes. Short, Stokes, Rahane himself, all have failed to score for the team this season. Samson looked in good touch in the previous game, and is the only other RR batsman to have any semblance of success this season. Without him and Buttler, RR risk suffering the same fate as Punjab did against RCB after losing their openers.
Concerns with the bowling attack’s have largely been overshadowed by Buttler’s heroics, but it will be an issue against KKRs batsmen, who are fresh off of scoring 245 in 20 overs. To their credit, they did well to choke Mumbai after the flying start they received, but they have been over-reliant on Jofra Archer to get them wickets while conceding few. Stokes has been managing to contribute notably with the ball too, supporting Archer well in the past few games. The rest of the attack, however, is a massive concern ahead of this fixture.
Fantasy Picks: Buttler, Samson, and Archer from this team. Stokes is worth picking for his bowling alone, while Rahane is the next best choice. Gowtham is another X-factor of the team who has been contributing with both, bat and ball.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR’s season has perhaps been encapsulated in their last two performances, the first leading to a 102 run loss and the second to them scoring 245 in one innings. When they show up, they look unbeatable. When they don’t, they are frustratingly ordinary. Their previous game showed just how much of a difference a strong opening stand can make. Their average opening partnership in the season before last game was just 17 runs. Their middle order has been phenomenal, breaking them out of jail in almost every match. DK and Russell showed their prowess amply against Punjab, while Uthappa, Rana, and Gill are all in good touch too. Their result almost seems to depend on their mood given how well their batsmen time the ball in one match, and then struggle in the next.
Andre Russell has surprisingly been the man taking the wickets in the last couple of games for KKR. Sunil Narine is a constant threat but is more prone to an off day than ever. Searles had a terrible debut and will likely miss this game. KKR’s attack is not the same as it was under Wasim Akram, especially after the injuries they have suffered all season. They have been expensive this season, but at home, RR must be wary of them.
Fantasy Picks: Narine, DK, and Russell every single time. Uthappa, Rana, Gill, and Lynn are all also worthy choices. The bowling has not been up to par this season, with the two performing ones already listed.
KKR win. If RR can perform in one game without Buttler, it would be nothing short of a miracle.
Could the Royals perform above expectation without Jos Buttler, or will the Knight Riders prove too strong? Let us know in the comments and poll below.