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HomeCricketIPL 49th Match Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals

IPL 49th Match Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

KKR vs RR Preview IPL 2018 Cricket Blog

Two points separate five teams battling for two playoff spots. The IPL 2018 group stage has been relevant and exciting right the way through, and it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen next!

KKR and RR both sit on six wins and six losses, but the journey both have taken to get here has been quite the contrast. KKR have had a win-loss pattern develop right throughout the tournament, whereas RR have stormed into contention following the promotion (by chance?) of Jos Buttler to opener, who has hit five straight half centuries.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ power was on show at Indore v KXIP, amassing 245/6, the fourth highest IPL score of all time. However, looking at KXIP’s performance v RCB last night, they are clearly a team on the decline, so it’s fair to say KKR will be tested more against an RR side that is on a three-match winning streak. Can KKR utilise spin effectively at Eden Gardens? Can they get Jos Buttler early? Can they overpower the RR attack? Three “yes” answers to these questions will have KKR fans yelling “yes” after the match.

Rajasthan Royals were in contention of finishing last just three matches ago, but led by Jos Buttler, they have turned their fortunes around. After KXIP’s capitulation last night, RR now sit fourth, and have the chance to go to third and one step closer to achieving what seemed an unlikely playoffs berth. They have been efficient with the ball in recent games, and taming the dangerous KKR line up is vital, along with a contribution by and support for Jos Buttler.


Key to a Kolkata Knight Riders win

Sunil Narine is such a vital weapon at the top of the order for KKR. When he gets going, KKR are often successful, and it was the case at Indore against KXIP. He set the platform for his team to build on, and build on they did, with four others reaching at least 20, including Dinesh Karthik’s superb 50 of just 23 balls. Another complete batting performance against RR will be the order of the day.
Also, the wicket of Jos Buttler is key. In his last five innings, Buttler has amassed 67, 51, 82, 95* and 94*, which includes three man of the match performances in a row. Imagine the panic in the RR change room if Buttler gets out early? His performance again will be important, as well as what support he gets.

Key to a Rajasthan Royals win

Jos Buttler can’t be expected to fire every time, and if he doesn’t at Eden Gardens, who else will step up? Like KKR, a complete, collaborative batting performance, based on putting pressure on the bowling, is key for RR away from home.
Also, the RR bowlers will come under quite the test at Eden Gardens. KKR possess in-form, potentially very damaging batsmen from their top order through to the middle, and RR will need to bowl with control, with regular wickets. 
All associated with RR would have been very encouraged with their effort against MI, restricting them to 168/6 after an opening partnership of 87, which RR followed up with 4/32 to ruin the MI innings. The same focus and persistence is key here.

Predicted teams:

KKR were dominant at Indore, despite conceding 214/8 v KXIP. It remains to be seen whether Shivam Mavi has recovered fully from his finger injury. If he has, one of Piyush Chawla or Kuldeep Yadav could potentially miss out due to Prasidh Krishna’s decent outing v KXIP.

Kolkata Knight Riders XI: 1. Sunil Narine, 2. Chris Lynn, 3. Robin Uthappa, 4. Nitish Rana, 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), 6. Andre Russell, 7. Shubman Gill, 8. Javon Searles, 9. Prasidh Krishna/Shivam Mavi, 10. Piyush Chawla, 11. Kuldeep Yadav

I expect RR to go in with the same XI as their previous match.

Rajasthan Royals XI: 1. D’Arcy Short, 2. Jos Buttler (wk), 3. Ajinkya Rahane (c), 4. Sanju Samson, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Stuart Binny, 7. Jofra Archer, 8. K Gowtham, 9. Shreyas Gopal, 10. Jaydev Unadkat, 11. Dhawal Kulkarni

Stats and Facts:

  • Head-to-Head: Matches 16, KKR 7, RR 9
  • KKR have won four out of five matches against RR at Eden Gardens.
  • The pitch could have some good pace and bounce, but KKR will still be banking on their spinners to do well. KKR’s spinners have taken 38 wickets in IPL 2018, the most of any team.
  • KKR have the highest economy rate of any team (9.41) and RR the lowest number of wickets taken (60).
  • KKR won the last match between the two sides (in IPL 2018) by 7 wickets.

Prediction:

Both teams’ NRR could do with some improvement, especially considering the likes of MI and RCB are in the positives.

Despite their shortcomings with the ball, both sides have good things going for them. At home though, I expect KKR to win and get their fifth win out of six meetings with RR at Eden Gardens. 

All to play for!
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 been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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