The Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals will come up against each other in the Eliminator – the second of the VIVO IPL 2018 Playoff matches. The two teams have to play their best cricket; there will be absolutely no room for mediocrity, for only the winner will progress in the competition and take a step closer to the Final.
KKR finished the league season in the third position; they won 8 of their 14 group-stage matches, including a run of three wins in their last three matches to charge into the playoffs. In their last league fixture of the season, they defeated table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad.
The Rajasthan Royals just managed to sneak into the top four. At one stage – after their ninth match on May 6, RR had only three wins and were placed at the bottom of the table. Then the turnaround, with Jos Buttler playing three consecutive match-winning knocks. In their last league match, the Rajasthan Royals – sans Buttler, Ben Stokes and without the services of mentor Shane Warne in the dugout – defeated favourites Royal Challengers Bangalore by 30 runs to stay alive in the race to the playoffs. The Gods smiled, other results then fell in favour, and RR made the top-four cut.
While upbeat about making the last four, both teams have problems to address. KKR have had a major issue with their pace bowling attack; their quicks have leaked runs at 10.19 runs per over – the poorest economy rate among all teams. KKR have also struggled for early breakthroughs, conceding big opening partnerships generally and have had to claw their way back into the match. The Rajasthan Royals have not travelled well; they’ve won only two of their seven away matches. Further, not one batsman outside their top three has made a half-century this season; come the big day, if a need arises, will they find someone in the middle-order to bail them out?
When: May 23, 07:00 PM IST
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The Eden Gardens track is considered as one of the better batting surfaces although spinners tend to come into action as the match wears on. Spinners have enjoyed bowling here in IPL games as well.
Venue Stats IPL
|Matches won batting first||25|
|Matches won bowling first||43|
|Average 1st Inns scores||156|
|Average 2nd Inns scores||143|
|Highest total recorded||210/6 (20 Ov) by MI vs KKR|
|Lowest total recorded||49/10 (9.4 Ov) by RCB vs KKR|
|Highest score chased||204/2 (18.2 Ov) by KXIP vs KKR|
|Lowest score defended||114/4 (20 Ov) by CSK vs KKR|
Head to Head
|Total Matches Play||17|
|Won by Kolkata Knight Riders||8|
|Won by Royal Rajasthan Royals||9|
Head to Head at Eden Gardens
|Total Matches Play||6|
|Won by Kolkata Knight Riders||5|
|Won by Royal Rajasthan Royals||1|
Teams’ Form in their Last Five Matches (most recent first)
Kolkata Knight Riders: W W W L L
Rajasthan Royals : W L W W W
Kolkata Knight Riders
Javon Searles has replaced Tom Curran for the last three matches, and with Kolkata winning all three games they may opt to stick with the same XI.
Shivam Mavi played the last game against Rajasthan, but having been either expensive or wicketless in the majority of his games in this year’s competition – he has conceded 84 across the two matches against the Royals combined – he is unlikely to be selected.
Captain Ajinkya Rahane will open with Rahul Tripathi, who returned to form in perfect time with 80 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
D’Arcy Short is another option, but his inconsistent batting – his two scores of 44 being his only two scores of more than 11 in seven innings so far – looks to have cost him his place.
Kolkata Knight Riders : Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav, Mitchell Johnson, Ishank Jaggi, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Tom Curran
Rajasthan Royals : Ajinkya Rahane (c), Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Rahul Tripathi, Jofra Archer, Sanju Samson, Krishnappa Gowtham, Stuart Binny, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin, D Arcy Short, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera
Kolkata Knight Riders
Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (c&wk), Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav
Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Heinrich Klassen (wk), Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Stuart Binny, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin
Player to watch
Stats that matter
- Home advantage could be a major factor in this game. Royals have a 9-8 win-loss record overall against KKR, but have only won one of their six meetings at the Eden Gardens. This season, moreover, Royals have won only two of their seven matches away from Jaipur.
- KKR’s players have played 50 IPL playoff matches between them, while Royals’ have only played 23.
- Dinesh Karthik will reach the 5000-run mark in T20s if he makes 36, while Sanju Samson needs 39 to get to 3000.
- Lasith Malinga (at the Wankhede Stadium) is the only bowler to take 50 or more wickets at one venue in the IPL. Sunil Narine needs two wickets to get to 50 at the Eden Gardens.
- Royals’ fortunes could well depend on how soon they can send back Narine – this season, he has the best Powerplay strike rate (198.4) of any batsman to face 75 or more balls in that phase. He has made 252 runs in the first six overs this season off 127 balls, while being dismissed eight times.
Fantasy pick for Dream 11
Cap / Vc – Sunil Narayan, Rahul Tripathi, Prasidh Krishna & Sanju Samson
If you want to take rish for grand league go with Andre Russell & Heinrich Klaasen