IPL 2018: Eliminator, KKR vs RR- Kolkata Knight Riders Predicted XI

IPL 2018: Eliminator, KKR vs RR- Kolkata Knight Riders Predicted XI

Kolkata finished third in the points table after 14 matches.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo by Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) haven’t had a smooth run in the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They managed to win eight out of their 14 matches and finished third in the points table. However, their berth in the playoffs was sealed in their last round-robin match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). The Men in Gold and Purple don’t have any scope of complacency from now onwards.

They will cross swords with the Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator of the cash-rich tournament. Most importantly, Eden Gardens is the host for the match, which is also KKR’s home venue. Dinesh Karthik’s men have had their fair share of challenges as far as team combination is concerned. In our article, we take a look at their probable eleven versus a team whom they have defeated a couple of times in this IPL.

Openers (Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine)

Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine have been phenomenal for them and hence, the Knight Riders won’t change their opening pair. Lynn commenced his campaign in a jittery manner but gradually has picked up form. He played a stupendous knock in the last match against the Sunrisers that will keep him in a positive frame of mind ahead of KKR’s next match against the Royals.

Sunil Narine has turned out to be one of Knights’ gun batsmen, especially inside the field restrictions. His unflinching style of stroke-play has been a bone in the flesh for several opponents and Ajinkya Rahane’s men are expected to strive for his wicket before he takes his franchise to yet another bludgeoning start. Both Lynn and Narine will be keen to perform well in the crunch match.

Middle-order (Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (capt & wk), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill)

The middle order is definitely a formidable one and on their day can decimate oppositions. Robin Uthappa was erratic early in the tournament but played decently against Kane Williamson’s men. A lot will depend on the veteran if the home team are to turn over the Royals. Dinesh Karthik has been in prime form and played some responsible knocks for the franchise in the round-robin phase.

The wicket-keeper batsman needs to be on top of his game in the do-or-die match. Nitish Rana started the event on an impressive note but hasn’t quite found his rhythm after his recovery from the back injury. Shubman Gill played one knock of substance against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), but apart from that hasn’t got many chances. All four of them will have to bring forth their A-game.

All-rounder (Andre Russell)

Andre Russell has been a vital cog for the franchise in all departments. He has been a brute force with the willow and presently has 264 runs at a jaw-dropping strike of 189. To multiply his joy, the all-rounder has also been amongst the wickets in the last few matches. Kolkata will dearly wish for the Windies cricketer to annihilate the visiting team at the iconic venue.

Bowlers (Javon Searles, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna)

The bowling lineup has been taken to the cleaners on quite a few occasions. However, amidst the abysmal performances, they have also churned out some decent shows, which is why KKR managed to progress to the next round. The pace bowling contingent consisting of Javon Searles, Prasidh Krishna and Andre Russell will be required to hit their straps in the next match.

The spinners in Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine are the ones to watch out for. Narine hasn’t been overwhelming with his off-breaks but has performed well enough to still be regarded as a force. Hopes will also be pinned on Kuldeep and Chawla to strangle the batsmen. Moreover, Prasidh Krishna needs to replicate his current form in the upcoming match.