In the past few days, we have seen a change in trend in the ongoing eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the majority of the first 10 matches, a team batting second eventually came out on top. It was Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who changed the trend with victories against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils respectively.
Mumbai Indians continued the trend today after defeating Bangalore by 46 runs owing to their fortress Wankhede.
Similarly, the results won’t be enough for the captains to start opting to bat first. In hindsight, it will still keep the leaders interested even if the coin toss doesn’t go their way.
It will be an important clash on Wednesday evening when the Knight Riders meet Royals at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur. It will be the 15th match of the tournament. Both teams are on equal points. Kolkata is higher in the points table due to a superior net run-rate.
Meanwhile, the two top run-getters from the tournament are Sanju Samson and Andre Russell. While Samson has used his touch and finesse to come out on top, Russell has allowed his bat swing and muscular power to do the talking for him.
Rajasthan has been wayward at times as far as their bowling is concerned. However, they are lucky to win a couple of games out of three.
On the other hand, KKR has played an extra match. The two spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine have been the top performers for KKR as far as bowling is concerned. They have been pegged severely owing to the injuries suffered by speedsters in the form of Mitchell Starc and Kamlesh Nagarkoti respectively.
While Starc was ruled out even before the tournament started, Nagarkoti had to return home after sustaining an injury during the practice session. He was yet to make his debut in the tournament.
Samson will play a big role tomorrow. He will be tested in front of Narine and Kuldeep. If KKR does manage to get him out early, they will surely fancy their chances against an untested middle order so far.
The first match in Jaipur was heavily affected by rain. However, the weather forecast for the game is quite better.
Team Combinations –
The only possible change for Rajasthan will come if all-rounder Jofra Archer recovers from his injury fully. He has been participating in practice sessions quite consistently.
However, his match availability remains in doubt. Meanwhile D’Arcy Short had a few mediocre returns. Hence Heinrich Klaasen will be waiting in the wings eagerly for his chance.
Short is a useful part-timer and might get a longer rope for the additional role.
Predicted XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), D’Arcy Short, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ben Laughlin, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat
Kolkata Knight Riders:
The visitors in all likelihood will retain the same playing XI. They registered a convincing victory in the previous encounter and are unlikely to tinker with the winning combination.
However, the fitness of Russell will be a concern for the Knights. The only change might happen in the batting order. Youngster Shubhman Gill has been wasted in the lower middle-order. If he is included in the XI, then Gill should definitely be batting at the top of the order.
Predicted XI: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Shivam Mavi, Piyush Chawla, Tom Curran, Kuldeep Yadav.
Both teams are on equal points and look quite similar on paper. The teams possess some extraordinary hitters and will look to take the opposition bowlers to the cleaners.
Interestingly, as far as the tentative results are concerned, I have a gut feeling that Kolkata will continue their winning run.