IPL 2023: Match 56, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Predicted Playing XI vs Rajasthan Royals
KKR are currently sixth in the IPL points table.
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With two back-to-back wins under their belt, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have kept themselves alive in order to qualify for the IPL playoffs. Next up, the Nitish Rana-led side will be taking on Rajasthan Royals, a team that has lost five of its last six matches in the ongoing Indian Premier League 2023. Even so, the two-time champions cannot take Rajasthan lightly as their top order can destroy any bowling attack on its day.
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Overall, KKR have looked more or less sorted in the last couple of games. It looks like they have finally figured out their playing combination and that is a good sign ahead of their final four matches in the league.
Kolkata are currently sixth on the IPL 2023 points table and if they manage to keep up with the momentum, the team can very well challenge for a spot in the top four. Ahead of that, will they make any strategic changes in the game? Especially with Shardul Thakur not bowling? Let’s dissect -
Here's Kolkata Knight Riders predicted XI against Rajasthan Royals:
Openers: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Jason Roy
Opener Jason Roy is arguably one of the best performers for KKR this season. The England international has smashed 218 runs in five matches at a strike rate of 159.12.
Before Roy made his debut for KKR in the ongoing season, the Nitish Rana-led side was suffering from poor opening partnerships but with Roy in the mix now, KKR have found success. He is playing a phenomenal brand of cricket at the moment and that will help the team in the business end of the tournament.
The same however cannot be said for his opening partner Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The Afghan opener hasn't been consistent in the ongoing season and that remains to be a concern. However, the youngster has the ability to change the complexion of games at any time and thus, the team management is very likely to back the flamboyant batter. On the other hand, he has been brilliant behind the stumps as well.
Middle order: Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh
Venkatesh Iyer has been poor in the last couple of games. The Indore-born cricketer started the season remarkably well but has been inconsistent and that needs to change. In case KKR lose a wicket early on, Iyer is expected to step up and make a difference but that hasn’t been the case lately. Overall, he has played 11 matches so far in the ongoing season, scoring 314 runs at a strike rate of 145.37.
Skipper Nitish Rana meanwhile is in remarkable form at the moment. The Delhi-born cricketer has scored 326 runs in 11 matches so far, including 51 runs in KKR’s last match against Punjab Kings at Eden Gardens. Even with the ball, Rana has done reasonably well. When it comes to captaincy, he has used his bowlers really well and thus, should feel confident ahead of taking on Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, Rinku Singh has been KKR’s biggest match-winner in the ongoing season. It’s not just him hitting boundaries for fun but also playing the role of an anchor whenever required. Thus, KKR have unearthed a gem in the form of Rinku, who can serve the team for almost a decade. When it comes to fielding, the Aligarh-born cricketer is one of the best in the business.
All-rounders: Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur
In the match against Punjab Kings, Andre Russell finally wreaked havoc with the bat in hand, scoring 42 runs off just 23 deliveries. This will give him a lot of confidence, which will definitely help KKR in the remaining matches. So far, the West Indies international has scored 208 runs in 11 matches at a strike rate of 154.07. Even with the ball, he has looked impressive from time to time but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Sunil Narine meanwhile hasn’t been impressive with the bat at all. With the ball, he has picked up only one wicket in the last eight matches and that is a massive concern. However, Narine has been economical at times but will be eager to pick up wickets as well.
When it comes to Shardul Thakur, the all-rounder didn’t bowl in the last match which remains to be a surprise. Skipper Nitish Rana isn’t using him much and the reason behind the same is still unknown. With the bat, Shardul has done well in bits and pieces and with that, the 31-year-old will expect to get better as he will be eager to get into the Indian playing XI for the WTC finale.
Bowlers: Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy
The 25-year-old Vaibhav Arora leaked 32 runs in three overs in his last match and thus, KKR will be tempted to bring Umesh Yadav in, based on his fitness. Especially when he is expected to bowl in the powerplay against the likes of Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson. However, as things stand, Arora is very likely to continue.
Harshit Rana meanwhile picked up two wickets with the new ball in the last match and the team management will be hoping that the youngster can keep up with the same performance. Meanwhile, Varun Chakravarthy has been tremendous with the ball. The spinner has picked up 17 wickets in 11 matches so far in the season and with that, he is currently fifth in the IPL Purple Cap race.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Probable Playing XI:
Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Harshit Rana, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakaravarthy
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Probable Impact Players
Kulwant Khejroliya, Anukul Roy, Mandeep Singh, Suyash Sharma, Lockie Ferguson