The Kolkata Knight Riders will seek to arrest their 5-match losing streak when they take on the Rajasthan Royals in Match 43 of VIVO IPL 2019.
The Knight Riders began the season with a bang, winning four of their first five matches. Since then, it’s all gone pear-shaped, with KKR losing five in a row – three of those at home. KKR’s batting line-up has done reasonably well, but their bowling has been a huge disappointment. The conditions have not favoured their spin bowling line-up, but their quick bowlers should have picked up more than their current haul of 10 wickets on the green surfaces they’ve been given at their home ground.
It has been reported that after the defeat in Hyderabad few members of the KKR squad were given time off. While some of them used the time to get their minds away from the game, others visited the franchise’s academy in Mumbai to hone their skills. One expects the time away should do the players a world of good, and the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Robbie Uthappa will return invigorated.
The Rajasthan Royals, who have three wins from their ten matches so far, are in a strange place; even if they win all their matches, it might not be sufficient to take them through to the playoffs. They have no other option but to keep wining and hope the mathematical equations will fall in place. The Royals have several under performing players, and now is the time for those players to repay the team management’s faith in them. Like their opponents, the Royals too have issues with their bowling attack; take out Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal for their bowling line-up, and their attack looks impotent.
25 April 2019, 8pm IST
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Previous Match XIs:
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Y Prithviraj, KC Cariappa, Harry Gurney.
Rajasthan Royals:Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Ashton Turner, Stuart Binny, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, JaydevUnadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Statistics best illustrate how much damage Andre Russell has caused this season and why he is a vital cog in KKR’s plans; the Jamaican has scored 392 runs in nine innings – his best-ever returns in an IPL season – at an astonishing strike-rate of 217.78. Russell has been KKR’s one match-winner so far this season; now is the time for the rest of the batting line-up to chip with match-winning performances.
The Rajasthan Royals will bank on their top three to score the bulk of the runs. Ajinkya Rahane scored a sublime hundred in the previous match against the Delhi Capitals; the Royals will want to believe that it was an outcome of him being freed up from captaincy and would want him to keep make consistent scores. Newly appointed captain Steve Smith is in good form too; the Australian has scored half-centuries in the last two matches, and he will know there’s a lot riding on his shoulders, given the underperforming middle-order.
On the bowling front, watch out for Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal in the Royals’ line-up; despite being asked to bowl the difficult overs, Archer has picked up wickets and kept the runs down. The leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal meanwhile has the habit of picking up the big scalps in the opposition line-up – AB de Villiers, Jonny Bairstow, Rohit Sharma,Virat Kohli, to name a few; will he be able to add Andre Russell’s name to that list?
Head to Head in Indian Premier League
Overall: Matches – 19,Kolkata Knight Riders – 10, Rajasthan Royals – 9
In Kolkata: Matches – 7, Kolkata Knight Riders – 6, Rajasthan Royals – 1
Since 2018: Matches – 4, Kolkata Knight Riders – 4, Rajasthan Royals – 0
The Rajasthan Royals’ only win at the Eden Gardens in their very first visit to the venue – on 20 May 2008.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have lost a total of 60 wickets so far this season while they themselves have picked up only 35 wickets. The difference factor of 25 – between wickets lost and wickets taken – is the biggest among all teams.
The Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals both have a poor record when they’ve batted first this season; KKR have a 1-5 win-loss record when they’ve batted first, while the Rajasthan Royals are winless in the four matches when they’ve had the opportunity of setting a target.