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IPL desk in Mumbai 12 April 2012 - 09:10pm IST

Preview: Match 15 – KKR v RR

Knight Riders host Rajasthan Royals in mid-table clash

What

The Kolkata Knight Riders will be relieved that they’ve finally lived up to the billing of serious title contenders. Gautam Gambhir’s boys lost their first two matches, but decimated the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous match and they will be look to build on that victory when they take on Rahul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals in Match 15 of DLF IPL 2012.

The Rajasthan Royals lack the star power of their opponents, but they’ve certainly gone about winning matches silently. They won their first two matches convincingly and then put up a stiff fight in what was seen as an improbable run-chase against the Mumbai Indians. Though they went down, Dravid’s boys will take a lot of positives from their performance in that match.

When

Friday, April 13, 2011, 08:00 p.m.


Where


Eden Gardens, Kolkata


The Protagonists


In a format like Twenty20, it is imperative that the best batsmen in the team get more time in the middle. And it was therefore important that Gautam Gambhir walked up to open the innings for KKR – as much for scoring big runs as for leading by example.

Brendon McCullum was left out in the previous clash. Given his experience and reputation, it will be interesting to see if KKR can make place for him in the playing 11. The tournament hasn’t seen too much from the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan either; the Baroda lad has only managed 16 runs in three innings, and this could just turn out to be his match.

Ajinkya Rahane has been the most impressive of the young Indian batsman in this IPL season. The Rajasthan Royals opening batsman – who is the current Orange Cap holder – has been a treat to the eyes. He has played shots that are straight out of the coaching manual to score his runs.

Look out for Owais Shah who has looked in good touch in each of the three. His 42-ball 76 gave his team a realistic chance of overhauling MI’s 197 in the previous match. Having found his form early in the tournament, RR will hope he can carry it through the rest of the competition.

Previous Meetings


These two teams have met on nine occasions so far, and there’s very little that separates them. Both teams have won four contests apiece, while one fixture ended in a tie after both teams had scored 150 runs at the end of 20 overs. Yusuf Pathan then walked out to bat in the one-over eliminator and scored 17 runs off four deliveries to seal the deal for RR.

Trivia


When Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hogg (41 years) took the field in the previous match against the Mumbai Indians, he became the oldest player to debut in the IPL.

Rajasthan Royals’ Brad Hodge holds the record the most 50-plus scores in Twenty20 cricket; he’s scored 31 50s in his 142 Twenty20 innings.

What next?


After this fixture, the Kolkata Knight Riders will remain at home and prepare to host Kings XI Punjab on April 15, while the Rajasthan Royals will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore – also on April 15.

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