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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||43||0||10.75|
|Jofra Chioke Archer||6||5||1||0||120.00|
The Rajasthan Royals continued their campaign to make the playoffs of IPL 2018 as they demolished a strong Mumbai Indians side with ease. That win would have sent jitters down the other teams that are jostling with the Royals for the final remaining two spots in the playoffs. One of those teams is the Kolkata Knight Riders, the opponent for the Rajasthan Royals in this crucial upcoming game.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have been quite inconsistent over the duration of their campaign but they are also coming into this game on the back of an emphatic win where they scored the fourth highest total in IPL history.
Two in-form teams will be facing up to each other in a must-win encounter for both.
The Kolkata Knight Riders are hitting their stride at just the right time in this tournament and it is very important for this young team to continue the good work at this most crucial juncture. Scoring 245 in the last match would have filled KKR with confidence but they also ended up conceding over 200 runs in that same match.
Scoring the same amount of runs is not going to be easy at the Eden Gardens and the KKR batsmen will have to wary of the threat that a rejuvenated Rajasthan Royals bowling attack poses. The first question that Dinesh Karthik and the coaching staff have to answer if whether they stick with Sunil Narine in this match or do they protect him from the express pace of Jofra Archer.
We don’t think Sunil Narine is going to be shunted down after a brilliant 75 in the last match but we would definitely recommend betting on him scoring less than 15 runs in the upcoming match if he does open.
Sunil Narine has a well-known weakness against genuine fast bowling and Archer will not be afraid to test him out with the short ball early.
We would personally like to see Shubman Gill open the inning as that would give KKR a much better chance of success. Chris Lynn has been scoring consistent twenties but that is just not good enough for a player of his caliber. KKR will be hoping he can explode at the business end of the tournament to justify the resources they spent on getting him in the auction.
Thankfully for KKR, the rest of their batting lineup has been performing admirably. Robin Uthappa may not be getting the really big scores but he almost always scores at a good clip and puts pressure on the bowling side. He is backed up by Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik, two of the best finishers in this year’s IPL, both of whom can also add plenty of momentum to the inning through big hitting.
With Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill as floaters, the KKR batting unit is a formidable unit.
As good as their batting is, though, the KKR bowling unit is a real concern. They played Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Scantelbury-Searles, and Prasidh Krishna as their bowlers along with Narine and Russell for support.
On a good day, this unit will have two weak links and on a bad day, the captain will be struggling to find overs from his bowlers. Against a Rajasthan Royals batting that is being led by a thunderous Jos Buttler, the going could get quite tough.
SP Narine, Chris Lynn, RV Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, J Searles, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav.
We often say the one man can make a huge difference to the fortunes of his team and Jos Buttler is proving that without a doubt. He has flourished in this tournament since being promoted to open the batting and is just scoring runs for fun at the moment.
He now has five consecutive half-centuries in this tournament and it would take a brave man to bet against a sixth. Jos Buttler is a very smart player and knows that he can wait for the weaker bowlers to take full toll. KKR will offer him a couple of inexperienced bowlers and if Buttler is able to spend a little bit of time at the crease before coming up against them then he could be in business once again.
The Rajasthan Royals brought back Darcy Short to partner Jos Buttler in the last match but he could only score 4 runs. Short replaced Ish Sodhi who has done well in the opportunities that he got and we think the Royals might revert back to him for this game.
Playing a stronger bowling unit makes sense against a team that is filled by explosive batsmen. It also helps that a few players like Lynn and Rossell have had their trouble against quality leg-spin bowling in the past.
Sanju Samson showed some very good form in the last match as well and that will be a huge positive for the Royals. If they can just get Ben Stokes into some good batting form then their team will start really shining in the matches to come.
Good as the Royals batting has been, it will be very interesting to see how they hold up when Jos Buttler eventually fails to score some big runs. Can Rahane and co. continue in the same momentum? Rajasthan Royals are essentially playing a batting lineup that ends at 5. If they lose a few early wickets then they could crumble.
Keeping the Rajasthan Royals in this tournament and perhaps as important as Jos Buttler to their fortunes has been Jofra Archer. The soon to be England qualified West Indian is a T20 phenomenon. He can bowl really fast really accurately and also has some quality changeups in his arsenal.
The fact that he is an excellent athlete in the field and can bat decently as well does his team no harm.
The Royals will need Archer to bowl fast and rough up the KKR batsmen. If the Rajasthan Royals have to chase a big total then the pressure on Jos Buttler to score most of the runs may become too much. Support from Ben Stokes in the bowling department has been very good but the others need to step up in this hugely important encounter.
Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, SV Samson, BA Stokes, RA Tripathi, STR Binny, Jofra Chioke Archer, K Gowtham, JD Unadkat, IS Sodhi, Anureet Singh.
We think the team winning the toss is likely to field first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Plenty of rain has been forecast for this match in Kolkata. We can be almost certain that there will be interruptions and some overs may be lost. The fact that the Eden Gardens is now a world-class facility which drains water very quickly makes us optimistic about a game being played out in spite of the conditions.
The pitch at the Eden Gardens offers something for the fast bowlers and has plenty of bounce. An even contest between bat and ball with a score of around 170 considered par should be expected.
These two are very evenly matched teams and have played some of the most exciting contests in IPL history. The last five matches between the two sides have seen the Rajasthan Royals win two matches, KKR one match, one tied, and one abandoned due to rain.
We like the Rajasthan Royals bowling attack better than Kolkata Knight Riders and think that could make the difference in this match.
Back the Rajasthan Royals to win.
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