Ajinkya Rahane and Dinesh Karthik © AFP
Ajinkya Rahane and Dinesh Karthik © AFP

Rajasthan Royals (RR) return to their fortress, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur, to host Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Match 15 of the VIVO IPL 2018. Both the teams have 4 points but RR have played a game less than KKR. Their coach Shane Warne has headed home for a short break but the side remains upbeat after notching up back-to-back wins. KKR, too, have gained the winning momentum after downing Delhi Daredevils (DD) at home on Monday.

Royals have relied more on individual brilliance. Sanju Samson has been their go-to player in this tournament and they will hope for the runs to continue flowing off his bat. There are questions if Ajinkya Rahane is their best bet to open considering they have the options of Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi and Samson. However, Rahane’s brisk 20-ball 36 on Sunday has rested the debate for a while.

Big players like D’Arcy Short and Ben Stokes are yet to prove their worth. And Jofra Archer has not played yet. Unlike KKR, Royals are spoilt for choices at the moment. Archer is an irresistible pick and with their bowlers leaking runs, he may get a nod.

KKR have a tiny squad, further hampered by injuries. They will look forward to proceed with the same side that beat Delhi at Eden Gardens on Monday. They heavily bank on Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell to fire. There may be a scope to promote Shubman Gill in order to utilise his talent.

KKR’s strength is in their spin department that boasts of Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla.

Likely XIs

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), D’Arcy Short, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler (wk), K Gowtham, Shreyas  Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin/Jofra Archer

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Raina, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Tom Curran, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav

Predictions

Head-to-head, RR have won 9 of their 15 matches against KKR. Their last 9 IPL results at Jaipur read — W W W W W W W W W. They have a 70 per cent success rate at this venue. RR start favourites but unlike the hosts, KKR have relied more on team brilliance than individuals. KKR may just have the last laugh this time.