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Kolkata Knight Riders host in-form Rajasthan Royals in crucial IPL 2018 tie

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will look to outshine one another in their bid to secure a playoff spot when they face each other in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday

cricket Updated: May 14, 2018 19:56 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Kolkata Knight Riders face Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 encounter in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Kolkata Knight Riders face Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 encounter in Kolkata on Tuesday.(AFP)
         

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) face each other in a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Since all teams set great store by momentum in the Indian Premier League (IPL), what makes this an even contest is that the visitors are here on the back of three successive wins and KKR go into the game having made 245 in their last match. “Both have played some good cricket over the last game and both come into this one confident. It will boil down to who executes plans better on the day,” said KKR head coach Jacques Kallis.

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If KKR have had Sunil Narine exploding whenever given the freedom, Rajasthan Royals have been served well by Jos Buttler. Buttler’s lowest score in the last five games has been 51 and what could look ominous for the home team is that Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson also played valuable cameos on Sunday.

Moreover, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer look to be coming into form with the ball and fast bowling is one area KKR have looked patchy through IPL 2018. Shivam Mavi’s finger injury hasn’t helped and Kallis said a decision on him would be taken on match day.

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On Sunday, Stokes and Archer bowled 25 dot balls and took two wickets each conceding 42 runs in eight overs. In seven games Archer has 13 wickets; that is one less than Sunil Narine who has played 12. And Archer’s strike rate of 12.38 is less than only Hardik Pandya’s. Narine, KKR’s most successful bowler this term, has a strike rate of 19.28.

The last time they played here, in 2015, the match was abandoned. KKR haven’t won here against the first-time champions, who were banned for the last two editions, since 2012. Kallis was a player then.

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But barring Mumbai Indians, KKR have shown history doesn’t matter. Twice they came back from comprehensive defeats --- they did that against Royal Challengers Bangalore after being mauled in Delhi and again on Saturday against Kings XI Punjab --- this term and should they win their remaining games they don’t need to look at other teams.

“Our destiny is still in our hands,” said Kallis. The KKR head coach’s answers at Monday’s media interaction were inversely proportional to the length and breadth of his career but it fit when Kallis said they were not looking at the run rate yet. “Hopefully, we will not have to worry about that if we win two games.”

First Published: May 14, 2018 19:54 IST

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