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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

KKR predicted XI against Rajasthan Royals: Pressure on Dinesh Karthik, changes expected

Chosen ahead of the young Rishabh Pant in the World Cup squad in a debatable decision, the Tamil Nadu veteran, who was KKR’s leading run-getter last season, is struggling for runs with an average of 16.71 from nine outings.

cricket Updated: Apr 25, 2019 09:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell
File image of Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell(AFP)
         

A struggling Kolkata Knight Riders would be hoping for a turn around when they take on Rajasthan Royals in an IPL encounter at the Eden Gardens Kolkata on Thursday. KKR have suffered five defeats on the trot, exposing their over-reliance on Andre Russell, and Karthik has copped criticism for not promoting the big-hitting West Indian up the order.

Chosen ahead of the young Rishabh Pant in the World Cup squad in a debatable decision, the Tamil Nadu veteran, who was KKR’s leading run-getter last season, is struggling for runs with an average of 16.71 from nine outings.

Facing a must-win situation ahead of the remaining four matches, head coach Jacques Kallis has backed the under-fire skipper to script a 2014-like turnaround when they won their second title with nine wins in a row.

ALSO READ: Rishabh Pant will play for India for next 15 years, says Sourav Ganguly

The frustration in the team management was palpable when Karthik, along with other under-performing India players, including Kuldeep Yadav, were given a couple of days break following their nine-wicket rout of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last match.

“I think the guys are frustrated, and we felt they needed a break. DK went home for a day as well. It’s about getting the guys refreshed and just trying to be mentally up for the game again,” Kallis has said.

The biggest letdown for the team has been its bowling unit, especially the spinners who have lacked sting at the Eden Gardens, something that was its main strength during the title-winning campaigns in 2012 and 2014.

ALSO READ: KKR ask captain Karthik, Uthappa and 3 others to go on a break

The famed trio of Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla have accounted for just 16 wickets from 10 matches, summing up their misery.

That Kuldeep has got four wickets and was left out in Hyderabad was more worrying as they seek to revive their fortunes against a team they had beaten convincingly in the first leg.

But the left-arm chinaman is set to return to the playing XI instead of KC Cariappa against Royals. It might not be the only change for Thursday’s KKR vs RR match. There are high chances of KKR giving a go to another big-hitting West Indies’ all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite in place of Chris Lynn, who has blown hot and cold in this IPL.

If they do decide to give Brathwaite a go, that would mean Shubman Gill will open the batting with Sunil Narine and we might see Andre Russell bat higher up the order.

Young left-arm seamer Prithvi Raj Yarra might make way for Prasidh Krishna, who was given a break in their last match against SRH.

KKR predicted XI against RR: Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Carlos Brathwaite, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney and Prasidh Krishna

First Published: Apr 25, 2019 08:59 IST