May 11, 2023
The race for the top 4 had heated up in the Indian Premier League 2023. The 56th game between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals will be an important contest for both teams, struck on 10 points. KKR defeated Punjab Kings in the last game to keep their hopes alive. The Royals threw away a game they should have won, going down against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Both sides have shared a strong rivalry in the past two seasons, with two wins each in four games. The Royals have their top order in superb form, adding to the side’s confidence. KKR’s bowlers have struggled in most games the side has played, which will be a tough challenge for them. They play at their home ground and shall look to take advantage of the conditions.
Nitish Rana’s side has kept the hopes alive for a berth in the playoffs with a 5-wicket win against the Punjab Kings. In a game that saw the balance shifting constantly, KKR held their nerves to win the game off the last ball. They have enjoyed a tough rivalry against Rajasthan, and Rana would like his players to be on their toes. They must win this game to be in the hunt for the playoffs.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Jason Roy have done in a few games, and the site will need a strong start from the pair. Venkatesh Iyer has been consistent in the middle order and needs to build partnerships with Nitish Rana and Andre Russell. The side bats deep, and they shall expect runs from Rinku Singh, Sunil Narine, and Shardul Thakur in the lower middle order.
The bowling attack, which has fared poorly in the season, did well in the last game. Vaibhav Arora and Harshit Rana must bowl tight spells as the RR top order has been in murderous form. Their spinners have an important role here, and the side will expect Narine, Varun Chakaravarthy, and Suyash Sharma to deliver a good show. Russell and Nitish Rana add depth to this attack.
Top Batsman – Venkatesh Iyer
Top Bowler – Varun Chakravarthy
Nitish Rana (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Varun Chakaravarthy, Jason Roy (Impact Player)
Sanju Samson was short of words after the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, where they lost by 4 wickets. They had the game in their bag only to let it away with indisciplined bowling in the death overs. The side comes here with three consecutive losses and needs to beat its way back to form. Sampson will expect a better show from his bowlers in this game.
Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal are in excellent form, and the pair will look to offer a good start in this game. In the middle order, they will need runs from Sampson, Joe Root, and Dhruv Jurel. Shimron Hetmyer has down well in the lower middle order and will aim to add quick runs with Ravichandran Ashwin.
The bowling attack must get over their disastrous outing against the Sunrisers. Sandeep Sharma and Kuldip Yadav must bowl good spells upfront, as KKR has firepower in the batting. Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal have troubled opponents and must deliver the goods. They will need a good show in the supporting role from Murugan Ashwin and Obed McCoy.
Top Batsman – Jos Buttler
Top Bowler – Yuzvendra Chahal
Sanju Samson (c & wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Murugan Ashwin, Sandeep Sharma, Kuldip Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Obed McCoy (Impact Player)
It will be clear skies over Kolkata on May 11. The wicket will be a belter, as we have seen in the last few games. Batsmen can hit on the up and score runs easily. Bowlers must get their lines right to do well. The side batting first will need 180 runs on the board to feel confident.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata, is one of the biggest grounds in India with deep boundaries. The wicket is flat and allows batsmen to play their strokes. There is some assistance for the fast bowlers at this ground in the early overs of the game. Spinners do well as the deep boundaries offer them extra protection to experiment with their speed and length.
Sides have won more games at this venue, chasing scores than setting one. In the last two games, the sides chasing the scores have won the games. Hence, we expect the side winning the toss to bowl first and restrict the opponents to a small total.
Kolkata Knight Riders have relied on their power hitters to win games. Theirs has been the most inconsistent attack of the season, creating trouble in most games. The bowlers have to do well as they take on a batting powerhouse. The Rajasthan Royals are in excellent form with the bat, which has been their strength. They have two quality spinners on the side, giving them the edge. Rajasthan Royals to win