ANI Photo | Kolkata Knight Riders to lock horns with struggling Rajasthan Royals in crucial IPL clash

A crucial clash in deciding the top four teams of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to take place on Thursday as Rajasthan Royals (RR) seek to overcome a run of tough games in their clash with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
KKR are in the sixth spot in the points table with five wins and six losses. They have a total of 10 points. RR’s campaign has suffered after some recent losses and they also have five wins and six losses.
With a win, one of the two teams can climb as high as number three in the table and push behind Mumbai Indians, which currently have 12 points with six wins and five losses.
KKR have won three of their previous five matches. On the other hand, RR have lost four of their last five games.
Rajasthan Royals appears to be a superior side on paper.
With in-form opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (477 runs) at the top and Jos Buttler (392 runs) making a return to his lethal best in the previous clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad, RR is more or less assured a fine start during the powerplay.
Skipper Sanju Samson will be aiming to score big in his 150th IPL match. Though Shimron Hetymer is having a lean patch in his last few matches and Dhruv Jurel is an easy target under pressure, their effectiveness as finishers cannot be ruled out.
RR has a strong spin bowling line-up featuring Yuzvendra Chahal (17 wickets), Ravichandran Ashwin (14 wickets) and Adam Zampa (five wickets), which can bamboozle any batting attack. Chahal would be looking to take that one wicket which will place him at the top of the wicket-taking charts of IPL history.
Pacer Trent Boult (10 wickets) and Sandeep Sharma (8 wickets) have been effective largely, though the latter would be aiming to put the match-losing no-ball against SRH behind him.
KKR has tried a lot as far as their batting is concerned. Of late, they have settled with Jason Roy (218 runs) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (198 runs), which are capable of providing solid starts up the order. Venkatesh Iyer (314 runs) seems to have run out of all momentum and the left-hander would be looking forward to get back to scoring big.
The form of skipper Nitish Rana (326 runs), Rinku Singh (337 runs) and Andre Russell’s return to form (208 runs) also serve as big positive signs for two-time champions. Together, they form a batting unit, that does not click every time collectively, but must be feared.
But the real strength of KKR has been their spin bowling, with Varun Chakravarthy (17 wickets), Suyash Sharma (10 wickets) and Sunil Narine (7 wickets) being pillars of KKR’s recent success. RR must do something special or else they have no choice, but to perish against such a solid spin attack. Russell’s pace has also fetched him seven crucial wickets this season and he is someone RR would beware of.
Kolkata Knight Riders Squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana(c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Varun Chakaravarthy, Jason Roy, Anukul Roy, N Jagadeesan, Lockie Ferguson, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mandeep Singh, Johnson Charles, David Wiese, Aarya Desai
Rajasthan Royals Squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson(w/c), Joe Root, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Murugan Ashwin, Sandeep Sharma, Kuldip Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Adam Zampa, Riyan Parag, Jason Holder, Obed McCoy, Trent Boult, Navdeep Saini, Akash Vasisht, KC Cariappa, KM Asif, Kuldeep Sen, Donavon Ferreira, Abdul Basith, Kunal Singh Rathore. (ANI)

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