IPL 2018, Eliminator, KKR vs RR - Rajasthan Royals Predicted XI

KKR beat RR in both the outings in the league stages.

Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals’ Shreyas Gopal celebrates fall of Mandeep Singh’s wicket. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

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The Rajasthan Royals came up with a thoroughly complete performance in their last league game of the season. They outperformed the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the must win encounter. With the win, combined with the Kings XI Punjab’s defeat against the Chennai Super Kings, the Royals have stormed in to the playoffs. They are now all set to play against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator of IPL 2018.

The equation is pretty simple – the winner takes it all. The winner of the match will play in the virtual semi-final, in the Qualifier 2. The loser of the game will see their campaign end this season. Certainly, the task will not be easy for the Rajasthan Royals. The match will be played at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata – a home venue for the Knight Riders. What makes it tougher for the Royals is the fact that they have surrendered meekly against KKR in the league stages on both occasions.

They were handed a 7 wicket defeat in Jaipur and they lost by 6 wickets in Kolkata. Needless to concede, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side has a tough ask to overhaul. In order to do so, they will actually have to ‘upset’ the favorites, the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Royals will enter the game sans the services of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. It will be interesting to see what combinations they go forward with for the big game.

Here is the Rajasthan Royals Predicted XI for the all important Eliminator:

Openers (Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane)

It took quite some time for the Rajasthan Royals camp to understand that Rahul Tripathi is best suited in the lineup as an opener. Tripathi played in the middle order for the major part in the league stages with very little success. However, when promoted up the order, he felt easier at the crease and scored runs at free will. In the most recent game, he scored an unbeaten 80 to show great form with the bat.

Along with Tripathi, the other opener for the big game could be Ajinkya Rahane. However, the RR camp have preferred having Rahane in the middle order claiming that the move stabilizes the batting lineup and adds depth. In all likelihood, Rahane fits as an opener for the game. But do not get startled if the Royals opt to open with a pinch hitter like K Gowtham or Jofra Archer in the match.

Middle-Order (Sanju Samson, Heinrich Klaasen)

The middle order for the Royals looks quite bleak at the moment. Sanju Samson had an exceptional start to the season. However, he has lost his form miserably and the consistency has become an issue for the talented youngster. Despite this, he is set to retain his place in the side.

Meanwhile, Heinrich Klaasen has found himself in the middle of action at a very crucial stage of the tournament. He has replaced Jos Buttler in the RR lineup. In the previous game, he was exceptional behind the stumps. He inflicted three very good stumpings and took a brilliant catch. Also, he contributed with a handy cameo with the bat as well.

All-rounders (K Gowtham, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer)

Ever since the start of the 2018 season, the strength of the Rajasthan Royals lineup has been their all-rounders. There is no Ben Stokes in the lineup anymore. In this situation, a certain Jofra Archer becomes the most valuable overseas recruit in the side. Archer has been sensational with his bowling. However, it is high time for him to show his skills with the bat as well.

Meanwhile, an all-rounder who has managed to excel in all departments in K Gowtham. The Karnataka all-rounder has bowled tight lines in the powerplay and has often bagged key wickets. In the last game, he dismissed Virat Kohli. Also, with the bat, he does not mind coming in and slogging right from the very first ball.

Meanwhile, another all-rounder who has been a regular face in the lineup for the Royals this season has been Stuart Binny. Binny has largely been underused by the RR skipper. In the limited opportunities that Binny has had, he has shown glimpses of what he can potentially do.

Spinners (Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi)

The leg spinners have been a strong talking point for the Rajasthan Royals. New Zealand recruit Ish Sodhi has been a very good addition to the side. Sodhi has not only managed to pick key wickets, but also contain the run flow at the other end. He bowled very well in tandem with Shreyas Gopal in the previous game.

Gopal was a regular face in the RR lineup at the start of the season. He was dropped midway and was then brought back in the side. In the last game, he ran through the Royal Challengers Bangalore formidable batting lineup to scalp a four wicket haul. He looks in a tremendous form and would be hoping to find assistance from the track at Kotla as well.

Fast bowlers (Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin)

Indian speedster Jaydev Unadkat was a big name at the IPL auctions this year. He was the most sought after and eventually the highest grossing Indian pacer in the auctions. However, he has failed to live up to the tag. He has looked wayward with his lines. Despite this, the Rajasthan Royals management have shown immense faith in him. He is likely to retain his place in the side.

With no Ben Stokes in the lineup, the Royals do feel the need to add an extra pacer in the side. Australian speedster Ben Laughlin is potentially the one who will make the cut again. In the game against RCB, Laughlin had taken two wickets and looked decent with his bowling form. He is likely to get another go.

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