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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 04 May 2014 - 06:33pm IST

Preview: Match 25 - RR v KKR

Royals and Knights set to lock horns in Ahmedabad

What

Match 25 of Pepsi IPL 2014 will see the Rajasthan Royals facing off against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first of the return matches this season.

RR are on a roll, having registered wins in their last three matches. Since decimating Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi, RR have defeated KKR and Delhi Daredevils and are third in league standings. In their most recent outing, they chased down 156 in clinical fashion, not once allowing the required run-rate to go out of hand.

The Kolkata Knight Riders need to lift themselves after finishing on the wrong side of the result in their last three matches. Since defeating RCB, they have dropped games against Kings XI Punjab, RR and Chennai Super Kings. In their most recent outing, the bowling unit did well to restrict CSK to 148, but the batsmen – barring Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan – did not turn up.

When

Monday, May 5, 2014, 4 pm IST

Where

Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad

The Protagonists

Skipper Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane are the undoubtedly the two most important players in the Rajasthan Royals ranks. However, given the dynamics of the team, the lesser-known players often step up and deliver match-winning performances. The immensely talented Sanju Samson, who bats at the crucial No.3 position, has played impressive cameos. The 19-year-old will be expected to convert those cameos into match-winning efforts. One man at the other end of the age spectrum – 42-year-old Pravin Tambe – keeps getting better by the day. After going wicketless in the first two matches, the leg-spinner has picked up nine wickets in the following four matches to become the team’s most successful bowler. He will continue to be an important cog, given that the surface in Ahmedabad is known to assist spinners.

For the Kolkata Knight Riders to do well, they will need a big knock from Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey or Robin Uthappa. Each one of those players have had one or two good outings so far this season, and with competition for Playoff spots getting intense, it is crucial that the four experienced lads stand up and deliver. On the bowling front, one doesn’t have to look beyond Sunil Narine who has been unplayable. Not only does the Trinidadian get wickets, he also ties batsmen down and therefore forces them to take risks against other bowlers.

Notes from Previous match

Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Daredevils: After the Delhi Daredevils got off to a blazing start by scoring 46 runs in the first six overs, the Rajasthan Royals pulled things back spectacularly; they only conceded 48 runs in the middle overs. The other positive to emerge from the match was the arrival of Karun Nair, who shrugged off poor form to guide his team home in the run-chase with a composed innings of 73*.

Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings: The KKR coach Trevor Bayliss will have noted a couple of areas his players could work on. First up, the bowlers did not hit the right lengths in their match against CSK. There were at least five overs of short deliveries bowled and the CSK batsmen took full advantage of them by scoring 62 runs. To put things in perspective, off the remaining 15 overs, the CSK batsmen only managed 86 runs. When it was their turn to bat, the KKR batsmen could have made better decisions where choice of shots was concerned.

Previous Meetings

By virtue of their win in the Super Over – that decided the match between these two teams in Abu Dhabi earlier this season – the Rajasthan Royals have a 7-6 win-loss record against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Trivia

The Rajasthan Royals have an impressive record in IPL matches at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad; they’ve won 3 of the 4 matches played there previously.

KKR have the most successful spin bowling attack in Pepsi IPL 2014; their spinners have picked up 18 wickets at a strike-rate of a wicket every 18 balls and have leaked runs at a rate of 6.50.

What Next

Kolkata Knight Riders head to the national capital to take on the Delhi Daredevils on May 7. Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, will remain at Ahmedabad and host Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 8.

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