IPL 2018 | Match 49 | KKR vs RR: Kolkata Knight Riders face the Rajasthan Royals for Match 49 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata tonight in a crucial match to steal the third playoff spot.

RR is riding high with three consecutive wins, as they’ve risen up from the bottom of the table all the way to fourth place with 12 points – a feat that was considered almost impossible two weeks ago. KKR remained in the fourth position for a good amount of time until their massive thrashing by the Mumbai Indians, which pushed them out of the top four. They stole their spot right back as they defeated KXIP with the highest score of this season and now, with KXIP’s loss last night versus RCB, KKR has jumped to third place, also with 12 points.

KKR has been having a very inconsistent season, saved only by their ability to jump back up in desperate situations. It is necessary for the Dinesh Karthik-led side to continue their momentum and not let it fizzle out, but this may not be an easy task against the confident and driven Rajasthan Royals.

They will clash in Kolkata which has been facing rainfall the last few days. Tonight’s forecast predicts rain as well, let’s hope it doesn’t offer much of a disturbance and allow this match to go smoothly. The dew content will definitely be a factor to look out for the bowlers, however.

The grounds are known for its luscious grass content allowing for fast boundaries and more difficulty fielding. A high-scoring match can be expected tonight.

The Ajinkya Rahane-led side has made a great comeback and has made themselves relevant to the teams on top, but their sole dependence on Jos Buttler is not fool-proof. A bad day for Buttler may just bring their ride to a stop this season. It’s important for the team to form solid partnerships to either chase or defend, as the case may be. The middle-order batsmen need to up their game to form a concrete wall against the Kolkata boys. Sanju Samson seems to have lost his form with him not making any major contribution. Ajinkya Rahane himself has had an average season, a weakness KKR will look to take advantage of. Ben Stokes has not been worth the money invested in him, as RR remains stubborn and keeps giving him chance after chance.

KKR, on the other hand, has sufficient batting power with Sunil Narine coming into form in their last match. Dinesh Karthik and young Shubman Gill will support Narine in his batting endeavor.

For KKR, the lineup may not include Shivam Mavi tonight after his finger injury in the game against CSK. The all-rounder may be replaced by Kuldeep Yadav or Piyush Chawla, though KKR would hope to not reach that circumstance. KXIP may not tailor any major changes in their XI, with the high-scoring batsmen on top.

Both KKR and RR are not popular for their bowling records and in Eden Gardens, this will prove to be a huge disadvantage for the defending side. Pacers will be chosen over spinners tonight, which can be an issue for Andre Russell who has had a better outing against spinners, but a lesser strike rate.

KKR and RR have clashed fourteen times previously, half of which were won by KKR. Rajasthan Royals have lost their last five games in Eden Gardens, not an auspicious space for the team as KKR has found to perform significantly better on these grounds. Will this advantage push KKR over the line or will RR break their losing streak at Eden?

It will be a tight match tonight as two teams with similar objectives will be facing each other with everything to lose. Watch to find out who prevails and makes it to the playoffs.