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HomeCricketIPL 15th Match Preview: Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders

IPL 15th Match Preview: Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Rajasthan Royals vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2018

Two teams on a high. Kolkata Knight Riders travel to Jaipur in an attempt to dismantle Rajasthan Royal’s magnificent record at the Sawai Masingh Stadium.

After a very shaky start to IPL 2018, Rajasthan Royals have won two straight, and in the process became the first team to successfully defend a total in a full twenty over game, against the hapless RCB. Sanju Samson, in a team boasting expensive stars, has stood out magnificently, now only second to Virat Kohli in the run scoring charts for IPL 2018. With RR picking the same team three times so far, they look pretty settled, despite the disappointing starts made by the likes of D’Arcy Short and Ben Stokes. There is also a chance Jofra Archer will play as well, in RR’s quest to win ten straight games at the Sawai Masingh Stadium.

What about Kolkata Knight Riders? What about that Andre Russell? What a damaging start he has made to IPL 2018, striking at 239.6, easily the highest of any player with at least 100 runs in the tournament so far. KKR hosted a DD side on such a high after a magnificent win in MI, so much so that you would have been forgiven for thinking KKR were outsiders. Instead, they swept them away with ease. Can they keep the momentum going?

Key to a Rajasthan Royals

Against a KKR side boasting some serious power (KKR have hit 200+ twice already), RR desperately need their pace bowlers to hit their straps. In IPL 2018 so far, three of their seamers – 
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Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin and Ben Stokes – all key players – are going at an economy rate of close to 11 an over. Against the likes of Nitish Rana and Andre Russell, they need to display better control.
I believe if RR can get through KKR’s top order, and dismiss Russell relatively early, they will be on their way to a third straight win.
Also, RR would be desperate for both D’Arcy Short and Ben Stokes in particular to find some form. After an explosive Big Bash League campaign in Australia, Short has underwhelmed so far, scoring just 21 runs in three innings. Ben Stokes, the IPL auction’s most expensive player has scored 48 in three innings. If these two can fire around the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi and Jos Buttler, watch out KKR.

Key to a Kolkata Knight Riders win

Can they take advantage of an RR attack that is yet to hit their straps?
Against DD, KKR would have been pleased with the greater contributions of their top order, as well as the incredible 12-ball 43 by superman Andre Russell. The opportunity is there for another sort of performance, against an RR side that has conceded runs at a fair clip at times so far in this tournament. With a boundary percentage of 67%, the best in the IPL so far, KKR have plenty to be optimistic about.
Then, you have the bowlers to turn to. Sunil Narine has been simply superb so far in IPL 2018, taking 7/82 from his 15 overs. For all the doubt on him after being reported for a suspect action again during the recent PSL, Sunil Narine has truly showed his T20 prowess.

Predicted teams: 

For RR, expect them to stick with D’Arcy Short and Ben Stokes, due to the damage they can cause. There is also talk of Jofra Archer potentially playing – he’ll be a great addition if fit.
Rajasthan Royals XI: 1. Ajinkya Rahane (c), 2. D’Arcy Short, 3. Sanju Samson, 4. Ben Stokes, 5. Rahul Tripathi, 6. Jos Buttler (wk), 7. K Gowtham, 8. Shreyas Gopal, 9. Dhawal Kulkarni, 10. Jaydev Unadkat, 11. Ben Laughlin
For KKR, they have a conundrum with Shubman Gill – does he have what it takes to come in later down the order and launch straight away? He is suited to the top order, but there might not be a place for him there just yet. Also, the bowlers are all holding their own, with all bowlers taking at least one wicket vs DD.
Kolkata Knight Riders XI: 1. Chris Lynn, 2. Sunil Narine, 3. Robin Uthappa, 4. Nitish Rana, 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), 6. Andre Russell, 7. Shubman Gill, 8. Piyush Chawla, 9. Tom Curran, 10. Shivam Mavi, 11. Kuldeep Yadav

Stats and Facts:

  • Head-to-Head: Matches: 15, RR: 9, KKR: 6
  • If RR win, they will equal the record for most consecutive wins at a single ground in IPL. Chennai Super Kings (M Chidambaram Stadium) and Mumbai Indians (Wankhede Stadium) are the joint record holders.
  • KKR have a boundary percentage of 67.67% in IPL 2018, the best out of all teams. RR? 54.14, the worst of all teams.
  • Sunil Narine to Sanju Samson could be the recipe for KKR to keep Samson quiet. Samson has faced 26 balls against Narine in T20 cricket, with a SR of 80 and two dismissals.
  • D’Arcy Short needs 13 runs to reach 1,000 in T20s. Chris Lynn is three short of 3,000.

Prediction:

Difficult pick, with both sides displaying good form in recent games.
With RR’s strong home record, and their capability of getting into the KKR batting line up, I see a tight RR win. This could certainly go either way.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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