The Rajasthan Royals will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders at their home turf in their league match encounter on Wednesday (April 18).
The Rajasthan Royals after having been taken to the cleaners by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opening game have come back pretty well with back to back wins and will look to complete a hat-trick of victories against the Knights.
The Knight Riders on the other hand, have a 50-50 win/loss ratio in the tournament so far, with 2 wins in 4 matches. Although both the teams have 4 points each on the table, each one has a few issues to address ahead of the game at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur.
The Rajasthan Royals will be anxious about D’Arcy Short’s run of play so far in the tournament. An outstanding Big Bash League announced the arrival of Australian cricketer on the international stage. Based on his form and reputation, Short was expected to light up the tournament with his brilliant batting performances. However, Short has looked nothing close to what he is capable of and it may be a test of patience for the Rajasthan Royals.
Ben Stokes is another reason to worry for the RR think tank. The most expensive player at the IPL auctions, Stokes has made a meagre 48 runs in the three matches that he has played in the ongoing season. RR would hope that the two master players get back into form when they lock horns with the Knight Riders.
Apart from Stokes and Short, RR will be disappointed with the way their bowlers have bowled till now and a tighter line and length will benefit RR’s campaign immensely.
The Kolkata Knight Riders should bat Shubman Gill up the order as he may not be at his best when batting down the order at No. 6 or 7. Robin Uthappa should also bat more responsibly for the Knight Riders and convert his starts into big ones rather than giving his wicket away after getting set.
The Rajasthan Royals have remained unchanged in all their three matches and one can expect them to stick to the same team as they have been winning games. However, it should not be a surprise if Jofra Archer gets a game tonight. KKR after winning their last game, and keeping in mind their smaller squad will most likely stick with the same team, unless a forced change spoils plan.
The key batsman for the RR, going into the match, is undoubtedly Sanju Samson who has been in phenomenal touch and has found the middle of the bat more often than not. More than the runs, the command with which he has scored those runs make it far more impactful and pleasing to the eye. A Sanju Samson special and RR are marching forward comfortably in the path of victory. Ajinkya Rahane, as well, is a batsman to look out for- just for the calmness with which he approaches his innings.
Despite some of the more popular names, Nitish Rana is a big impact player for the Kolkata Knight Riders and has helped the KKR lineup look far more solid with his batting performances. It goes without saying then that Andre Russell’s batting form has been a huge plus for the Knight Riders so far.
In one of the rare Indian grounds where the boundaries are comparatively bigger- the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur- the spinners will have a huge role to play and although it could be tempting to go after them, the bigger boundaries will come into the picture. Thus, a Sunil Narine who has been amongst the wickets in every match of KKR can prove to be a trump card on such a ground. Leg spinner Shreyas Gopal of the Rajasthan Royals can have a critical role to play in the middle overs.
An exciting contest lies ahead from Jaipur. Broadcast starts at 20:00 Hours (IST).