THE GAME:

The game between the Rajasthan Royals and the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai promises to be a thriller. The two sides are critically placed in the points table. The end result of this game is crystal clear indeed. The winner takes it all, and shall qualify for the playoffs. The loser though, will have to pray that the results of other games go as per their way.

Both the teams will enter this game on the back of close loses. The Knight Riders lost to the Mumbai Indians in a game which they should have won easily. A similar tale is depicted for the Rajasthan Royals. The Royals couldn’t chase 158 against the Super Kings, and stumbled against Ravindra Jadeja, who bagged four wickets. Both the teams would want to get off their distractions and concentrate on this game. It will be an interesting contest between the two talented sides of the IPL. A loss to the Royals could mean the end of the road for the defending champions. A loss for the Royals could mean disastrous. The Royals started the IPL emphatically, but then lost five games and two were washed out.

 

PREVIOUS YEAR CLASHES:

Since the first game in this IPL between these teams was washed out, we have a look at their second clash of the last season.

The game was played in Ahmedabad on the 5th of May 2014. The Royals batted first and posted a healthy total of 170 in their 20 overs. It was a combined batting effort as the top four all scored 30 or above for the Royals. Nevertheless, the Knight Riders began steadily and were poised to take the game away. They lost their first wicket for 121, but then began a procession. Within the next 7 balls, the Knight Riders lost five wickets, to make a mess of the chase. 121-0 soon became 123-6. The Knight Riders couldn’t recover from such a disaster and lost the game by 10 runs. Pravin Tambe was given the Man of the Match award for his hattrick.

 

KEY PLAYERS:

SHANE WATSON:

Fair to say, this has been Watson’s poorest IPL. Watson has been so terribly out of sorts that he was even released from the captaincy, to make way for Steve Smith. Watson over the years has been a consistent performer for the Royals and a lot depends on his contribution. A failure in the most crucial match for the Royals today could mean disastrous. It will be imperative of Watson to provide a solid start.

STEVE SMITH:

The Australian was about to take the Royals past the winning line against the Sunrisers and was batting beautifully before Ravi Bopara conned him. Smith has been terrific for the Royals and his show at number 3 holds the key for the men in blue. With Watson failing, Smith has done well and supported the in – form Rahane well. If Smith and Watson both fail today, then there will be excess burden on Rahane’s shoulder.

GAUTAM GAMBHIR:

Gambhir has the knack of performing in big matches. This IPL has been a productive one for the KKR skipper. His batting has looked elegant and the aggression is always there. Against the Mumbai Indians too, Gambhir got off to start before he ended up yorking himself up. Expect the Knight Riders skipper to be at his best today.

ANDRE RUSSELL:

This Jamaican has been the star for the Knight Riders in this IPL. He has time and again rescued the Knight Riders with his destructive batting. A 19 ball half century against the Kings XI was another instance. He is the pillar for the Knight Riders while chasing. With Russell around, even a required run rate of 11 should not worry KKR.

PROBABLE XI:

RAJASTHAN ROYALS:

1. A. Rahane 2. S. Watson 3. S. Smith 4. S. Samson 5. K. Nair 6. D. Hooda 7. S. Binny 8. J. Faulkner 9. C. Morris 10. D. Kulkarni 11. P. Tambe

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS:

1. R. Uthappa 2. G. Gambhir 3. M. Pandey 4. Y. Pathan 5. S. Hasan 6. A. Russell 7. S. Yadav 8. M. Morkel 9. P. Chawla 10. S. Narine 11. U. Yadav

 

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