IPL 2018: Match 49, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals– Expectation vs Reality

Kuldeep's magnificent spell won the game for the hosts.

Kolkata Knight Riders Dinesh Karthik
Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo by IANS)

The 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has proved to be every bit as exciting as we could’ve hoped for. With the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) already has made it to the playoffs, there are just two spots left for the next stage of the competition. The Eden Gardens, Kolkata will now witness a face-off between its home side and the Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday which will be a make or break game for both sides.

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the RR are both in possession of 12 points at the moment. The only thing keeping the former ahead in the race is a Net Run Rate (NRR) of -0.189 while the latter have an NRR of -0.347. Tuesday’s match will be extremely crucial as it’d keep the winning team alive in the tournament and serve as an eliminator for the losing team at the same time.

Before the real action commences, let’s take a sneak peek at what we’re expecting from this must-win encounter for the two heavyweight sides.

Sunil Narine to leave the opposition bowlers bamboozled

Sunil Narine had gained recognition in the world of Cricket with his unreadable spin bowling in the early days of his career. The IPL has seen him unleash another side of his cricketing persona and revel in his prowess with the bat. He’s already hit 277 runs in 12 matches for his side and doesn’t seem to be in a mood to stop. Tuesday may as well be another match to be engulfed in a Narine storm! The Caribbean player has consistently provided KKR with the solid starts that they’ve needed to trump the opposition and more often than not, his team has ended the match on the winning side owing to his heroics with the bat.

KKR’s last game against RR saw Narine get run out by Jos Buttler, but not before he’d scored a crucial knock of 35 runs off 25 balls. KKR eventually rode on the momentum provided by Narine and carried on by Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana and skipper, Dinesh Karthik to seal the match by a margin of 7 wickets. Hence, Narine can be expected to produce another blinder at the top of the innings. with the bat to take his team over the line.


Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes to provide the RR batting order with stability

Rajasthan Royals have unfortunately not been able to settle on a consistent opener. D’ Arcy Short has been fair in his play, but nothing exemplary and RR may want to tweak the batting order slightly to be in a more favourable position to win the match. Young Sanju Samson has been sensational in IPL 2018, with his knock worth 92 runs against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) being hailed as one of the finest by so young a player in the IPL. RR can consider to promote him up the order and open the batting alongside Jos Buttler.

Ben Stokes, as the costliest overseas player in the history of the IPL, is yet to justify his price tag. In spite of having gotten off to some good starts, Stokes hasn’t been able to contribute heftily to the team’s cause with the ball. He, however, has bowled decently. With Samson being promoted up the order, Stokes may find a window to come in earlier into the game at number 4 and both the feisty players can be expected to slog it out in the middle to ensure that Rajasthan scores well with the bat.

Here’s the reality right after the match..

Kuldeep turns it KKR’s way

After losing the toss, the visitors had got off to the best possible and had crossed the 50-run mark in the fourth over itself. But the chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav spun the web around the Royals batsmen and returned with the figures of 4/20. He took the crucial wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Buttler and Stokes during his spell. It was only due to Jaydev Unadkat that the Royals managed to go past 140 runs as they were bundled out in 19 overs.

Lynn and Karthik lead the chase

The required run-rate was never too high for the Knight Riders as they were comfortable throughout the chase. It was not easy for them though with the Royals bowling with full intensity and picking wickets at the regular intervals. However, the calm-headed Karthik was in the middle at the right time for the hosts as Chris Lynn also played a patient knock of 45 runs. Both made sure that the chase was aced in 18 overs and the victory was secured by 6 wickets. KKR are still truly alive in the tournament and they will face SRH in their last league game.

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