Two of the IPL’s most exciting teams will be up against each other as Kolkata Knight Riders take on Rajasthan Royals at the Dubai International Stadium tonight. The Knights have bounced back with a win against Sunrisers Hyderabad after their defeat to Mumbai while RR has enthralled all with explosive batting displays bringing them two consecutive wins. It remains to be seen whether the team from India’s desert state can register a hat-trick of victories in the desert nation.
What to expect: This is going to be a strong batting line up of Rajasthan against a young bowling line up of KKR. RR scored 200+ runs in both the matches they have played so far. Sanju Samson is in furious form along with Smith, Buttler and their new hero Rahul Tewatia. Although, bowling is still a worry for them, again conceding 200+ runs on both occasions. For KKR, they have an experienced batting line up along with some young talents like Gill and Rana. With both teams going at this form surely this is gonna be a blockbuster. As we saw, always a captain going to choose bowl in the first innings considering the dew factor but most of the time it’s not happening in UAE weather. The highest temperature expected to be 39 degrees to the lowest 29 degrees.
Rajasthan Royals: Steven Smith (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti
Players to watch out for –
1) Sanju Samson – Samson has been on song this IPL with his hitting prowess leading Rajasthan to victory in both their games so far. He has been especially hard to bowl to for spinners and will be looking to bash them to all parts of the ground against KKR, who played 3 spinners in the last game.
2) Rahul Tewatia – Tewatia showed that he can wield the long handle as well as be a wily customer with the ball. RR will be hoping for another all-round display from this uncapped Indian.
3) Shubman Gill – Gill led from the front in the last game against SRH. His half-century helped KKR cross the line. The youngster will be looking to provide a solid start yet again.
4) Andre Russel – Russel is always a key exponent for KKR and while we haven’t seen him bat much this season, he can turn a game on its head any day. He is also handy with the ball as he showed in the death against Hyderabad.
When you’re playing different opponents at different venues, you have to change your plans accordingly. We are playing in Dubai tomorrow where are bigger grounds, so you need to change the game plans accordingly. We have very smart guys in our team management and we are ready for the next game” – Sanju Samson
“They have a very experienced side. The challenge for us is to focus on our game. If we can improve from the last game, then that will allow us to execute strategies against Smith, Buttler and Samson to try and make inroads. The honest answer is they are good players and if they bat 20 overs then you are probably going to lose the game. Particularly Buttler and Samson. They’ve had some good success but they are missing Ben Stokes at the moment. Hopefully, we can build from the last game and get our first win in Dubai.” – Eoin Morgan
KKR vs RR in Numbers
Head to Head
KKR – 10, RR – 10, No Result – 1
Batting first won – 7 times, Batting 2nd won – 11 times
Tie Matches – 2; RR won both the times.
Highest score: KKR – 190, RR – 199; Both came in the same match.
Lowest score: KKR – 125, RR – 81
Most Runs: Dinesh Karthik – 518 runs
Most Wickets: Sunil Narine – 9
High score: Shane Watson – 104*
Best bowling: Kuldeep Yadav – 20/4
– 2 tie matches between RR and KKR, most between any two teams in IPL
– Last time when they met in UAE, both teams scored 152 runs in regular play and 11 runs each in the super over as well. RR won the match by a boundary count.