The 12th edition of Indian Premier League is in full swing. In the second match of the doubleheader on Sunday (April 7); the Rajasthan Royals host the in-form Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur.
Rajasthan Royals haven’t had a great run so far in the tournament with just one win from four matches. Their three losses came in the first three games itself.
They were able to open their account with a win against the struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last match at Jaipur. Going forward in the tournament, a win against KKR will give them the much-needed momentum.
Once again they are expected to field Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes & Jofra Archer as the overseas specialists. Sanju Samson, who missed the last match against RCB due to an injury, may replace one of Stuart Binny or Varun Aaron.
Andre Russell’s destructive hitting has put opposition teams to the sword in this year’s IPL. He single-handedly won three matches for the Kolkata franchise. Though Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana showed glimpses with the bat, the other batsmen haven’t done a lot. This will be a matter of concern for the Kolkata-based franchise.
KKR’s bowling department looked a bit wayward as they have conceded more than 180+ runs in all the matches. But, Jaipur’s spin assisting pitch might help KKR who have better spin options than their opposition RR.
They might not go for changes to a winning combination. The selection headaches seem to be a non-existent factor until Russell’s scintillating hitting continues to win them the matches.
RR Probable XI: Ajinkya Rahane(C), Jos Buttler(wk), Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, K Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Varun Aaron
KKR Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(C & wk), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna
Jos Buttler vs Sunil Narine
After a couple of poor outings, Jos Buttler returned to form with a fifty in RR’s win against the RCB. The English wicket-keeper batsman cited the ‘Mankading’ incident for his twin failures. He’s going to play a huge role at the top of the order, as RR mostly depends on the quick starts he gives. With two fifties, Buttler scored 139 runs in four matches at an average of 34.75 and struck at 137.62 with 69 being his highest score. Overall, in 41 IPL matches, he scored 1214 runs at an average of 34.68 and has a whopping strike-rate of 148.95.
Jos Buttler, now has four consecutive fifty-plus scores at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur.”
Sunil Narine hasn’t had a great start in IPL 2019. He just took one wicket in the three matches he played at an average of 85. Even his economy of 9.44 is also on the higher side. KKR generally are a spin-heavy attack and they need the mystery spinner to come good to restrict the opposition to below par totals. In 101 career IPL matches, Narine took 113 wickets at an average of 22.85. Throughout the IPL, he conceded runs at an economy of just 6.60 with 5/19 as his best.
Jofra Archer vs Andre Russell
Last season, Jofra Archer was a revelation for Royals with some stellar bowling performances. In 2018 he took 15 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 21.66. His economy of 8.36 can be considered fruitful as he bowled at very crucial stages of the games.
This season, he hasn’t set the stage on fire like last year, and has taken three wickets in four matches at a higher average of 41 and conceded at an economy of 7.68. But, one can expect him to weave some magic.
Andre Russell has made all the headlines in IPL 2019 with his mind-boggling hitting form. He scored 207 runs in just 77 balls at an unbelievable strike rate of 268.83 and averages 103.50 with the bat. He’s already hit 22 sixes out of the 77 balls he’s faced and once again can fancy his chances against the RR bowling attack. Overall, Russell has scored 1097 career IPL runs in 54 matches at an average of 31.34. He has scored five fifties in the tournament and has a whopping strike rate of 189.46 in the IPL.
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The match between RR & KKR is going to be an enthralling one as both teams possess big hitters in their ranks. Considering the spin-friendly Jaipur pitch, Team Cricwizz expects KKR to win this match, as they have better spin options in Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine & Piyush Chawla, and all can pick up wickets to jolt the opposition’s batting line-up.
Once again, however, the dew factor is going to play a huge role in today’s game and whoever wins the toss will definitely opt to a bowl and the chances of winning are more for the chasing side.
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