IPL 2021, KKR vs RR Preview: Kolkata looks to end Rajasthan's hopes of playoffs qualification
Kolkata Knight Riders remains in the race for IPL 2021 playoffs. In a bid to consolidate its chances of qualification, it would be aiming to defeat Rajasthan Royals convincingly in Sharjah on Thursday.
Former champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is yet to seal its berth in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) playoff. In a bid to solidify its stance, it takes on fellow former champion Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Match 54 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday, as we present the match preview.
KKR is currently placed in the fourth spot, with six wins for 13 games, having 12 points. Meanwhile, RR is at the seventh spot, with five wins from 13, having ten points.
KKR needs to win to keep its playoffs hopes alive, while a loss would pin its hopes on defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI), which has to lose its final match. As for RR, it has to win by a margin of 125 runs at least, besides hoping for MI to lose by 40 runs, while a loss rules it out efficiently. By all means, RR is more or less out of the race.
As for the teams, KKR is heavy on its bowling. For its batting, it is its top-order that is troubling the bowlers, oddly openers Shubman Gill and uncapped Venkatesh Iyer, along with Rahul Tripathi. The tren would continue with a particular focus on skipper Eoin Morgan, along with Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Lockie Ferguson and Prasidh Krishna.
On the other hand, RR lacks star power, while its inexperienced batting has been helpless against the bowlers. But, it possesses a pool of dependable young talent, who are talented and capable of giving the opposition a tiring time. Its bowling has been somewhat effective, and it would try to dismiss the KKR top-order early.
KKR has some injury concerns regarding all-rounder Andre Russell, pacers Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson, and spinner Varun Chakravarthy. As for RR, opener Evin Lewis has been having trouble with his feet of late and could be rested.
The two sides have met on 24 occasions, with KKR barely leading 12-11. Of the three United Arab Emirates (UAE) clashes, KKR leads 2-1, while it would be their maiden encounter in Sharjah.
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Weather and pitch report
The weather in Sharjah would be heated, with an expected temperature of 37 degrees and 48% humidity. The track is expected to play slow, as has been this season, while the shorter boundaries could help the batters.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee/Andre Russell, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy and Shivam Mavi/Prasidh Krishna.
RR: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Evin Lewis, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Shivam Dube, Glenn Phillips/Chris Morris, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mayank Markande, Chetan Sakariya, Kartik Tyagi and Mustafizur Rahman.
Batters: Rana, Tripathi (vc), Gill- Gill is sure to give the right start, along with Tripathi in the top-order, while Rana is the perfect guy for the middle. Tripathi's reliability makes him the assistant captain.
Wicketkeeper: Samson (c)- He is a no-brainer, as he is the man in form in this department, making him the skipper.
All-rounders: Narine, Tewatia, Iyer- Iyer has been in an explosive form with the bat as an opener and is a must-have, along with Narine, who has been effective with the ball, while Tewatia too is delivering with the ball.
Bowlers: Rahman, Krishna, Chakravarthy, Sakariya- While Chakravarthy is sure to nail it with his spins, the other three have been terrific with their pace.
Date and day: October 7, 2021 (Thursday)
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Time: 7.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar