Riding high on confidence after their thumping win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals would aim to keep their winning run intact when they take on a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders in the 47th game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 on May 3.
KKR have lost seven out of 10 games this season, and they now need to win all their remaining matches to keep their hopes alive. Kolkata will take on the Royals in front of their home crowd at the iconic Eden Gardens, and one would expect that they bounce back strongly with their time running out fast.
Gautam Gambhir-led KKR produced a poor batting performance against the Delhi Daredevils, and were thrashed by a huge margin of seven wickets. Kolkata’s top order collapsed and then the lower order couldn’t do much. The defending champions would like to forget the loss and move ahead.
Eoin Morgan, Jacques Kallis, Sunil Narine and skipper Gambhir continue to be the mainstays for KKR, but they will expect the others to chip in as well.
Manvinder Bisla would like to put behind a forgettable outing against DD, as he not only flopped with the bat after showing a glimpse of form in the previous two matches, but also missed a stumping chance to get rid of David Warner at a crucial moment in the tie. The southpaw went on to win the game for Delhi.
Yusuf Pathan flopped once again and KKR may drop him for the important clash.
Apart from addressing their batting woes, KKR will have to improve their fielding as they gave Virender Sehwag, Unmukt Chand and Warner a lifeline each, which certainly didn’t help their cause.
On the other hand, Rajasthan, who are sitting comfortably at third spot in the IPL-6 points table, will need to shrug off the notion of not winning the away games and look to consolidate their position. Rajasthan will draw a lot of inspiration from their four-wicket win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous appearance.
Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, James Faulkner and Stuart Binny continue to be the key players, but what gives an edge to Rajasthan over the Knight Riders is the all-round show they have put in the games that they have won.
The Purple Cap holder Faulkner has proved to be Rajasthan’s find of the season. He has bagged 16 wickets in seven games and will aim to carry on the momentum.
In-form Watson’s presence at the top of the order bolsters Rajasthan, and his ability to take wickets gives them a chance to play with the team combination.
Kolkata will be desperate to win and it would be pleasing enough to do so at their home ground, but looking at the current form, Rajasthan Royals can be termed as favourites.
Kolkata Knight Riders (Probable): Manvinder Bisla (wk), Gautam Gambhir (c), Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Sumit Narwal, Brett Lee, Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Rajasthan Royals (Probable): Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid (c), Shane Watson, Owais Shah, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson (wk), James Faulkner, Ajit Chandila, Siddharth Trivedi, S Sreesanth.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)