IPL 2018 | Match 58 | KKR vs RR: Kolkata Knight Riders will be facing tonight at Eden Gardens, Kolkata for the Eliminator match.
KKR is placed third with sixteen points, two points ahead of Rajasthan Royals. This advantage may just win them the game without any effort from their side if the rains decide to shower on Eden tonight. The weather forecast predicts a cloudy evening with the possibility of a thunderstorm around 10 PM, so it’s not looking good for RR.
The Ajinkya Rahane-led side just made it to the playoffs with seven wins in fourteen matches and now would want to utilize the chance they got to the fullest. In Jos Buttler’s absence, who was their only high-scoring batsmen, the next three in line, i.e. Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi will have to take over. However, they have been having a very inconsistent season so it’s time for them to step up their game.
Ben Stoke also left to go back to his homeland along with Jos Buttler so Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat will need to take care of the bowling department. Krishnappa Gowtham will be expected to support the middle-order.
KKR managed one win more than their opponents with the likes of Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa. They have had the most balanced setup as compared to the other teams with no super-high scorers or wicket-takers, but they have still managed to cruise their way to the playoffs. The advantage is on their side with Jos Buttler out of the picture and the higher rank.
KKR will most probably replace Shivam Mavi, whom they had brought out in their last match against RR, to make way for spinner Piyush Chawla. The rest of line-up should remain more or less the same.
RR, on the other hand, has not stuck to a general line-up this season. It will be interesting who opens with Tripathi – either Ajinkya Rahane or Heinrich Klassen. It will be a match for the spin-bowlers so Jofra Archer and D’Arcy Short may not be making an appearance tonight.
Head-to-head, the teams have had proved to be suitable opponents for each other. However, Eden Gardens has turned out to be a better venue for the home team and a not-so-lucky on for RR. They have managed only one win out of six on this ground against the same opponents.
All the odds are against RR especially in terms of numbers. They have taken the fewest wickets in the tournament (74) and the least boundaries (256). However, KKR has conceded the most number of sixes while RR the least.
KKR is also two-time IPL champions, winning the title in 2012 and 2014. RR has won the title once in the very first season of IPL in 2008 and hasn’t had a chance since.
This will be a knockout match between two teams desperate to stay in the tournament and have a chance at the Qualifiers. If the rain decides not to interrupt, this will be a cracker of a match to watch. May the best team win.