Kolkata Knight Riders have won two and lost two matches in IPL 2014 so far © IANS
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 28, 2014
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Rajasthan Royals (RR) have recorded two wins apiece at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. They now end their United Arab Emirates (UAE) leg of IPL 7 with a clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on April 29. Both the teams come into this game with differing fortunes in their last game. At Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Rajasthan shot out Royal Challengers Bangalore for 70 and later that night, Kolkata failed to chase a modest score against Kings XI Punjab. It is with that in mind that both teams will approach this game.
The pitch at Abu Dhabi hasn’t been the easiest for batting. In fact, there is a layer of grass that helps the seamers and for some reason, even the slow bowlers have been able to do well. Chasing under lights is a very tough task and the team winning the toss will have no hesitation in batting first.
Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir would be desperate for runs. His horror run in this tournament continued as he was dismissed for a single. That was a small consolation considering the fact that he recorded three blobs before the game. And there was a change in the batting order as Manish Pandey opened the batting with Jacques Kallis. Perhaps that is the line-up they would maintain with Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan and Suryakumar Yadav to come in later.
Their bowling seems to be in good form led by Sunil Narine and Morne Morkel. Narine still presents a threat with his uncanny mystery and Morkel can extract bounce with all the grass at Abu Dhabi. However, it would be interesting to see if R Vinay Kumar comes in place of Umesh Yadav. Vinay Kumar had a good game against Royal Challengers Bangalore and was then dropped for Piyush Chawla, who put in a splendid performance against Punjab. With that, Chawla has booked his spot for this game at least and the toss up would be between Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
On Rajasthan’s side of things, they seem stable and shouldn’t make too many changes to their line-up. In the last match, they did bring in Karun Nair for Dhawal Kulkarni. Nair then opened the batting with Ajinkya Rahane as they chased a paltry total. The other interesting change was Kane Richardson coming in for James Faulkner, who has been one of the main players for Rajasthan. Perhaps they may consider bringing Faulkner back in place of Tim Southee.
The rest of the line-up may remain the same and there would be emphasis on Pravin Tambe’s spin. Tambe did well in the last game and has lived up to his billing. Rajasthan and Kolkata are placed third and fourth on the points table respectively and they would want to head back to India on a high.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Jacques Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Manvinder Bisla (wk), Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Sayan Mondal, R Vinay Kumar, Andre Russell, Veer Pratap Singh.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Ankush Bains, James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Iqbal Abdullah, Karun Nair, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Tim Southee, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)