It is precisely that kind of innings (Russell’s 17 ball 48) which gives a team confidence in the long-run and creates a winning mentality that rubs off on all the players. However, Russell is not the only threat in the KKR batting ranks. Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa have also been in great form.
What Rajasthan would need to be wary of is leaking runs towards then end of their bowling innings, as they have tended to do in previous matches in this year’s IPL. Even though they possess players like Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer who are excellent death bowlers on paper, they have not managed to play to their potential. With a win under RR’s belt and playing at home again, this may be the time.
KKR has shown that they are a team that cannot be taken lightly, no matter what the situation in the match. In the bowling department, the likes of Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine will look to exploit the Jaipur wicket which has tended to keep low and slow this season.
But Rajasthan are no pushovers in the bowling department either, and with young leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal bamboozling Kohli, de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer in the last match, he is one to keep an eye on in particular.
Players to Watch Out For
Shreyas Gopal: The young leg-spinner had a dream outing in his last match against RCB, where he dismissed RCB and India captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and West Indies’ Shimron Hetmyer. The RCB batsmen danced to his tunes, unable to read his googlies. The match against high-profile opposition in KKR gives him a chance once again show what he’s made of. Should he continue to churn out these performances, we might be looking at a future star of Indian cricket soon.
Andre Russell: It’s hard to look past the big West Indian right now, isn’t it? With 207 runs and five wickets in four matches this IPL, he is an early contender for player of the tournament. His record against Rajasthan Royals is not too bad either – 105 runs in 5 T20I innings at an average of 35, and 5 wickets in 16 overs at an average of 25. No matter what his contribution, Russell’s impact has been game-changing in almost every match he’s played. One wouldn’t put it past him to do the same against Rajasthan Royals.
Team News/Availability Updates
Both teams are expected to have a full squad to choose from.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith/Ashton Turner, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Varun Aaron and Dhawal Kulkarni
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine/ Carlos Brathwaite, Lockie Ferguson and Prasidh Krishna
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nitish Rana, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, K C Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.
First Published: April 6, 2019, 8:43 PM IST