The Indian Premier League is back down to the one match on Monday and it comes from the Brabourne Stadium as the Rajasthan Royals take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in what should be an exciting clash.
These two sides have both shown good form over the first half of the campaign and will be looking to win this one and push on over the remainder of the regular season as they look to launch a tilt at the title.
When you consider the Rajasthan Royals have the leading run scorer in the tournament and until recently the top wicket taker in the competition it should be no surprise that the Rajasthan Royals have made the start to the season that they have. They are fifth in the league going into this match but had been flying high at the top until they lost to the Gujarat Titans last time out. Despite that defeat a win here would have then in a decent position in the table.
One or two injuries have just threatened to derail the season of the Royals. They were without Trent Boult in their previous game and certainly felt his absence. They’ll be hoping he is able to return for this one. The one area the Royals do look strong is with the bat. Jos Buttler is the top run scorer in the tournament and in Shimron Hetmyer they might well have the best finisher in the competition as well. They just need to make sure their bowling woes don’t develop into something significant.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The beaten finalists of last season have a level ledger with three wins and three losses from their opening six matches and they will be out to move into the positive again as they hit the halfway mark of their season. Although they have won three matches you get the feeling that we haven’t seen anywhere near the best of the Knight Riders which will be encouraging. They will know more than anyone after last season that this tournament is how you finish the season not necessarily how you start it.
Kolkata have lost their last two matches and gone round the park in both of those so they’ll be keen to find their best stuff with the ball. It could have been a lot worse for the Knight Riders but for a couple of blitzes from Andre Russell and another from Pat Cummins. There is definitely a sense that their form has been masked a little. It would definitely be no bad thing if their top order were to come to the party here.
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As I’ve said before the bigger hitters tend to do their thing against the pace bowlers rather than the spinners so Yuzvendra Chahal is going to be a big player here, especially as he was a little expensive in the previous game. He’ll want to bounce back here.
The Knight Riders simply have to stop Jos Buttler getting away from them so Pat Cummins is going to be key here. He was also very expensive in the last match so there would be no better way of bouncing back than to get Buttler out cheaply.
These two sides have plenty of big hitters in their ranks and on this Brabourne Stadium wicket I expect to see all of them showcase their talents and hit plenty of sixes in this match. Rajasthan Royals are averaging over 10 sixes per match with 53 from their five outings and there is a case to be made that this is the highest scoring ground in the competition and they haven’t played a match here yet. Kolkata average almost eight sixes an innings and have hit nine and eight in their two matches here.
The eight came against a decent attack that the Sunrisers Hyderabad have so that is certainly encouraging for the sixes. When you have the likes of Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine among others the sixes should flow nicely. The line here is 15.5 but I’ve got to think that these two sides will be able to clear that comfortably even allowing for the amount of spin which will get bowled. Both these attacks went round the park last time out so it might be that the batters have the best of it here.
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