Rajasthan Royals Recent Form
Like every other side, the Royals aren’t going to have it all their own way all the time.
They had had the rub of the green in a few matches, such as benefiting from some questionable decisions from Lucknow regarding their batting order last Sunday but in midweek it went the other way.
In a big chase against Gujarat, Jos Buttler got out at just the wrong time after a lightning fast start and no-one else was able to pick up where he left off.
But they’ve stil started well with three wins from five and as we’ve said before, look well-balanced.
But they’re going to need a little more from Ravi Ashwin.
His economy rate is good at 7.15 but one wicket in five games is a little below par for a player of his ability.
Rassie van der Dussen could also do with a score just to get going.
Trent Boult missed out last time with a slight injury and they certainly missed him.
James Neesham came in for him but didn’t have the greatest of games with 17 runs and no wickets for 29 runs.
But Boult should be fit to return and they’re a better side with him in it.
Devdutt Padikkal scored a duck last time out but they’ll probably carry on opening with him and Buttler for the time being.
Player to Watch: Shimron Hetmyer
We’ve seen good Hetmyer and bad Hetmyer so far.
When the team was firing and he was allowed to just play with total freedom, he played some beautiful cameos to help his team win the match.
But against the Titans, we saw bad Hetmyer.
He scored a brisk 29 off 17 but just when they needed him to really kick on, he got out to a somewhat tired and lazy shot.
Tired is the key word. He’d only been at the crease for a few overs but already looked exhausted, which isn’t surprising.
He’s currently out of the West Indies because he keeps failing fitness tests and you can tell that he’s not in the shape he should be in, for an elite cricketer.
But he’s got the talent, the shots and the power and on his day is as good as anyone batting in the death overs.
It’s 6.5 with Betway that he makes up for what happened in the last match by being their top batsman in this one.
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Rajasthan’s Likely XI
Buttler, Paddikkal, Samson, van der Dussen, Hetmyer, Parag, Ashwin, Chahal, Boult, Krishna.
Kolkata Knight Riders Recent Form
After their strong start, KKR have now lost their last two and have slipped down to fifth with three wins from six.
On Friday they put in something of a mediocre performance, falling about 10-15 runs short of a par score and then not bowling particularly well when defending. But that’s not to take anything away from SRH, who were excellent in that chase.
With the bat they needed another rescue job from Andre Russell, who hit 49 off 25 after Ntish Rana had struck 54 off 36.
Russell also came back to claim two wickets, being their best bowler on the night, but he got little support from anyone else bar Sunil Narine.
Narine was extremely economical, albeit going wicketless, but everyone else was far too expensive. Even the normally reliable Pat Cummins, who went at 10.43 an over.
After a good start, they need to get back to winning ways or else will lose all momentum and give themselves too much to do in terms of making the Playoffs.
Kolkata Knight Riders Team News
Aaron Finch came into the team last time out at the expense of Sam Billings, who made way to allow Finch to play as their fourth overseas player.
That meant Indian keeper-batsman Sheldon Jackson came in as keeper, with Finch occupying the position of Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order.
In theory it was a good move because Rahane had been poor but Billings is an excellent keeper and a very capable batsman.
In the end Finch hit a big six but got out shortly after, so the experiment didn’t really work.
Venkatesh Iyer has had a quiet time of it so far after his brilliant second half of the season last year but with no other options to open except possibly Sunil Narine, they’ll probably keep playing him there and hope he comes good sooner or later.
Player to Watch: Sunil Narine
Four wickets in six matches isn’t much by Sunil Narine’s standards but just look at that economy rate: just 5!
That’s right up there with the very best in the world and neither he nor KKR will be that fussed about him not taking that many wickets, if he keeps on keeping the runs down.
He’s bowling as well as he has in years.
But they may just be missing a trick with him by not using him as an opener.
Because he likes to hit over the top, it’s in the Powerplay overs that he’s at his most dangerous and he struggles to get going in the middle overs.
They might as well open with him, let him hit a few boundaries and then if he gets out, it’s no issue because he’s not really a ‘proper’ batsman in the first place.
By doing so, they could also bring back Sam Billings instead of Finch.
Kolkata’s Likely XI
Finch, V Iyer, S Iyer, Rana, Russell, Narine, Jackson, Cummins, Khan, Yadav, Chakravarthy.
Venue & conditions
You’ll know by now that Brabourne is a seriously high-scoring ground. In fact, the highest-scoring of the grounds used in the IPL so far.
There were more big scores over the past few days with Delhi posting 215 against KKR last weekend, KKR managing (a below par) 175 and Lucknow almost getting to 200 against Mumbai on Saturday.
So 195 looks about the par score but that can easily be chased if teams get off to a good start and don’t lose too many wickets.
Still, the captain winning the toss will probably want to chase anyway as dew does tend to be around for these night games.