KKR vs RR Eliminator: The second of the 3 playoff fixtures is all set to get underway as KKR take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens. Kolkata finished the league stage with 16 points while RR narrowly escaped elimination with a win over a mercurial RCB. Both teams have displayed some outstanding cricket but have also been extremely sloppy occasionally. The gravity of the league has reached its pinnacle. There’s absolutely no room for lacklustre cricket hereafter. KKR vs RR Eliminator will be a colossal test of temperament. Which team will be able to parry away the monstrous IPL pressure?
DINESH KARTHIK’S LEADERSHIP – BOLD, BRAINY & EFFECTIVE
Dinesh Karthik was appointed KKRs leader and what a handy move this has turned out to be. The wicket-keeper batsman has been extremely proactive behind the stumps and in front of it. Karthik’s leadership is the primary reason for KKR’s success this season. They’ve needed him to make bold changes, make quick-witted adjustments and tonk quickfire runs when the other batters couldn’t score. He’s responded magnificently. 438 runs with the bat & 16 dismissals behind the stumps.
KKR managed 16 points in the league stages. Victories in their last 3 games helped them secure a 3rd place finish. They beat the league leaders SRH in their last league game. They’ve got momentum on their side and against a refashioned RR they’ll certainly fancy their chances of making it through to the qualifier 2. Having said that, KKRs pace attack has let them down. While the likes of Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna are undoubtedly impressive, the inexperience has been clearly visible. The Pacers have conceded 10.19 runs-per-over. Although, the positive side to it is a stern learning. Can the pacers turn things around for them?
A NARROW ESCAPE FROM ELIMINATION
Rajasthan Royals were probably one of the least favourite sides to make it to the top 4. After 9 games the Rahane-led side had registered only 3 wins. A certain Jos Buttler then had other plans. Buttler played 3 match-winning knocks guiding his team to safety and eventually helping them secure a playoff spot. The likes of Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat; their costliest players had clearly underperformed but RR somehow find themselves in the top4. Also, defeats for MI and RCB helped their cause.
Buttler and Stokes have returned to England for Internation duties. Ajinkya, Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson have to step up and this for a probable final berth. There’s a lot at stake and plenty that can go wrong. Can RR reach their second IPL finals? Even better, can they go all the way and beat CSK? The action begins in earnest.
VENUE: EDEN GARDENS, KOLKATA
Both teams after wins in their previous matches are likely to remain unchanged.
Dinesh Karthik has to bat at number 4. Nitish Rana isn’t a bad option but the team’s best batter has to face the maximum deliveries.
Stuart Binny or Mahipal Lomror? Binny hasn’t done much in the middle-order. Lomror provides stability with his left-arm orthodox and he’s also handy with the bat. But, RR would contemplate a tweak.
EXPECTED PLAYING 11
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c/wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav.
Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Sanju Samson, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Stuart Binny, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin.
Overall – Matches: 17, Kolkata: 8, Rajasthan: 9
At the Eden – Matches: 6, Kolkata: 5, Rajasthan: 1
Kolkata won both the fixtures this season. The first by 7 wickets and the second by 6 wickets. KKR play at home and that’ll be a massive advantage walking in. Rajasthan this year have won only 2 off their 7 away games. As far as the numbers are concerned, KKR are the favourites.
FANFIGHT FANTASY TEAM FOR KKR vs RR ELIMINATOR
PLAY FANTASY CRICKET AND FOOTBALL ON FANFIGHT. CREATE YOUR BEST 6 AND WIN BIG. To participate in the KKR vs RR Eliminator FanFight click here.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Matches: 14, Runs: 438, Average: 54.07, Strike-rate: 149.98, Balls/boundary: 5, Dismissals: 16
On FanFight – Credits: 8.6, Points Scored: 367
Matches: 14 , Runs: 425, Average: 32.69, Strike-rate: 131.17, Balls/boundary: 5
On FanFight – Credits: 8.6, Points Scored: 298.5
Matches: 14, Runs: 327, Strike-rate: 189.01, Wickets: 16, Dot balls: 121
On FanFight – Credits: 9.1, Points Scored: 401
Matches: 14, Wickets: 14, Economy: 8.56, Dot balls: 74
On FanFight – Credits: 7.7, Points Scored: 187.5
Matches: 14, Runs: 325, Average: 27, Strike-rate: 120, Balls/boundary: 6.9
On FanFight – Credits: 8.6 Points Scored: 233.5
Matches: 14, Runs: 391, Average: 30.07, Strike-rate: 138.65, Balls/boundary: 6.5
On FanFight – Credits: 8.6 Points Scored: 279.5
Matches: 9, Wickets: 13, Economy: 8.38, Dot balls: 86
On FanFight – Credits: 8.2 Points Scored: 144.5
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Tom Curran, Ishank Jaggi, Prasidh Krishna, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles
Ajinkya Rahane(c), D Arcy Short, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler(w), Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Ish Sodhi, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Heinrich Klaasen
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