IPL 2013 Preview: Defending Champions Kolkata Knight Riders take on upbeat Rajasthan Royals

After a comprehensive win against a depleted Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders face a tougher challenge when they go up against the Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday © PTI

By Prakash Govindasreenivasan

Jaipur: Apr 7, 2013

Kolkata Knight Riders, who have had a good start to their title defence, will face a confident Rajasthan Royals in the eighth match of the Indian Premier League 2013 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Monday.

An all-round effort against the weakened Delhi Daredevils helped Kolkata Knight Riders earn their first points of the tournament. Sunil Narine’s efforts with the ball (four for 13) was complimented well by the top-order, who saw off a paltry total with ease.

Having beaten a team that has a few big names and does well in the league stages, Kolkata now face a different test when they go up against an upbeat side filled with a few lesser-known entities, led by the formidable Rahul Dravid.

Gambhir will be happy with his form and will hope his bowlers can continue their’s and restrict the Rajasthan batsmen. Brett Lee, who spearheads the bowling attack, will need to be a lot more economical than he was in the game against the Delhi Daredevils. The onus of dismantling Rajasthan’s top-order will be on Lee before Narine is introduced to chip away at the rest of the line-up. Veteran Jacques Kallis will also shoulder the responsibility as one of the senior bowlers.

Rajasthan Royals eked out a victory from the jaws of defeat in their first match against Delhi Daredevils. After scoring 165, thanks to a half-century from skipper Dravid, their bowlers failed to keep Australian batsman David Warner down, who was runout in the penultimate over after scoring 77 off just 56 deliveries. Debutant Samuel Badree went for wicket-less and conceded 34 runs in his four overs while Siddarth Trivedi also went for a lot of runs. But, the positive sign for Dravid was Sreesanth’s ability to choke the opposition and dry up the runs. Kevon Cooper too, did well to for his three wickets. While facing Kolkata, Rajasthan will have to up the ante as the margin of error will be much lesser this time around.

Both sides look good but need to sharpen a few rough edges if they wish to win their second game in a row. As for Kolkata, they need to maintain the overall balance and do equally well in all departments of the game. Gambhir will look to play a big innings and do well as the senior player while expecting his bowlers to compliment his efforts. As far as Dravid’s team is concerned, they will need to ensure that they don’t let the tempo go down throughout. Against Kolkata, even a minor slip, could cost them the match.

As far as balance is concerned, the odds seem to be in favour of the Kolkata Knight Riders but the Rajasthan Royals have the reputation of springing up a surprise every now and then.

Teams:

Rajasthan Royals (probable): Ajinkya Rahane, Kusal Perera,  Rahul Dravid (c), Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge,  Kevon Cooper, Ashok Menaria, S Sreesanth, Rahul Shukla, Siddharth Trivedi, Samuel Badree,

Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): Gautam Gambhir (c), Manvinder Bisla (wk), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Eoin Morgan, Yusuf Pathan, Laxmi Shukla, Rajat Bhatia, Brett Lee, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Time: 20.00 IST | 14.30 GMT

Click here for Schedule & Results

Click here for Points Table

Click here to read all about IPL 2013

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)