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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Can RR beat KKR, end losing run and secure No 2 spot?

Can RR beat KKR, end losing run and secure No 2 spot?

Source: PTI
May 18, 2024 14:30 IST
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In the absence of Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal will have to come up with a big knock against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL match in Guwahati on Sunday for Rajasthan Royals to snap a losing streak and finish in the top-two.

IMAGE: In the absence of Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal will have to come up with a big knock against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL match in Guwahati on Sunday for Rajasthan Royals to snap a losing streak and finish in the top-two. Photograph: BCCI

Rajasthan Royals will be desperate to snap their four-match losing streak and finish in the top two when they meet table toppers Kolkata Knight Riders in an important IPL match in Guwahati on Sunday.

Having secured the play-off berth with 16 points, the Royals started floundering at the business end of the tournament, losing four matches on the trot.

 

Their batting flair has eluded them and they haven’t been able to cross the 150-mark in their last two matches.

With their star England opener Jos Buttler returning home for national duty, they have big shoes to fill.

Their top three batters -- Yashasvi Jaiswal, skipper Sanju Samson and local hero Riyan Parag -- will have to shoulder additional responsibilities if they are to snap the losing streak and head to the play-offs finishing in the top-two, that will give them two cracks to reach the final.

KKR (19 points), on the other hand, have already assured themselves a table top position after a washout against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad in the previous round handed them one point.

They will be high on confidence but at the same time they may have to guard against complacency.

Since their win in the return leg clash against Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens on May 11, KKR have not played any match with the washout in Ahmedabad.

Travelling to Ahmedabad and then back home in Kolkata for a day's practice and again heading to Guwahati for the final league clash could be quite frustrating and break their rhythm of four-match winning streak.

It remains to be seen if the Gautam Gambhir-mentored side does hold on to the winning momentum without appearing to be rusty.

In between, they have lost their in-form opener Phil Salt, their second leading run-getter this season as the Englishman is back home for the series against Pakistan in the build up to the T20 World Cup next month.

Salt and Narine, the two KKR openers, have scored 897 runs with seven fifties and one century between them at strike rate of 182-plus each.

The duo's top form has been a key element in KKR's journey to their first play-offs since 2021.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz will be a like-for-like replacement for Salt but expecting him to make an impact like Salt straightway will be unrealistic.

The Afghan wicketkeeper-batter, who played 11 matches in 2023, has not played any match this season and his last outing was way back on March 18 in a T20I versus Ireland.

As KKR will be keen to keep their rhythm intact, the onus will be on the likes of skipper Shreyas Iyer, the finishing duo of Rinku Singh and Andre Russell to fire in unison.

There is also some rain forecast as conditions are likely to be on the slower side and in the last match between Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings the ball seemed to stop.

Teams (from):

Kolkata Knight Riders: Shreyas Iyer (captain), KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rinku Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Ramandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Mitchell Starc, Dushmantha Chameera, Sakib Hussain, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gus Atkinson and Allah Ghazanfar.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain/wicktkeeper), Abid Mushtaq, Avesh Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Donovan Ferreira, Kuldeep Sen, Kunal Singh Rathore, Nandre Burger, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Shubham Dubey, Rovman Powell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Trent Boult, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tanush Kotian.

Match starts: 7.30pm.

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