IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders aim to continue winning momentum | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders aim to continue winning momentum

While Rajasthan Royals (RR) have won their last two IPL 2018 games, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) returned to winning ways with a 71-run victory over Delhi Daredevils (DD) earlier this week.

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2018 18:56 IST
Sandip Sikdar
The in-form Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be confident of a third consecutive victory when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an IPL 2018 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Wednesday (April 18).
The in-form Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be confident of a third consecutive victory when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an IPL 2018 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Wednesday (April 18). (AFP)

It will be a battle about which team carries forward the winning momentum as Rajasthan Royals (RR) clash with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 15th match of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Wednesday. (IPL 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

Following a loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their opening fixture, the Ajinkya Rahane-led Royals have made a solid comeback to win their next two matches and find a firm footing in the 11th edition of the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.

The hosts will play their second home game of the season at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium where last time, the Royals edged out Delhi Daredevils (DD) by 10 runs (D/L method) in a rain-curtailed thriller.

READ | As teams search for momentum, it’s all about trial and error early in IPL 2018

One wicket the Knights will be looking to get early is Sanju Samson. With scores of 49, 37, 92 not out, the 23-year-old is currently the highest run-scorer in IPL 2018. Samson was his team’s top-scorer in two out of three games and has already won the Man-of-the-Match awards twice.

Though they do not have a plethora of stars, Rajasthan Royals’ batting looks quite settled with skipper Rahane being consistent as an opener, even though he is yet to ‘explode’ with the bat. Coming down the order, Englishmen Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler can accelerate when needed and are assets to the team.

READ | IPL 2018: Australia opener Aaron Finch sets unusual record

Credit has to be given to the Royals bowlers, who despite looking vulnerable, have led their team to victories in the last two games. In a format where teams prefer to bat second, the Royals bowlers delivered when it mattered most.

On Wednesday, Rahane will be hoping the flip of the coin falls in his favour after losing all three tosses yet and being asked to bat.

The Knights, on the other hand, have had a topsy-turvy four matches so far. After impressing with a convincing win over the Virat Kohli-captained Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their opener, they went down in an enthralling contest to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and then surrendered to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

READ | Sunil Narine takes 100th IPL wicket in emphatic win for Kolkata Knight Riders

However, a dominant win over Delhi Daredevils on Monday has put their campaign back on track and new skipper Dinesh Karthik will look to impress with his captaincy skills.

This will be KKR’s second away game in five matches after losing narrowly to CSK in the only game that was played at Chepauk, this IPL.

The Royals may have Samson, but KKR’s Andre Russell is also in prime form, currently being the tournament’s second highest run-getter. Other KKR batsmen have also chipped in when needed with the likes of Chris Lynn and Nitish Rana coming good in crunch situations.

But the troika of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav spinning a tight web around opposition batsmen is what will really bother RR.

Jaipur cricket fans will also be eager to see some action after the previous game on April 11 was curtailed due to rain.

Curator Taposh Chatterjee said that the side batting first should score around 180-190 runs. “It is a batting friendly track, according to the demands of the format and the outfield is very fast,” said Chatterjee.