The Rajasthan Royals are on a party-spoiling spree. After beating Mumbai Indians comprehensively, RR got the better of Kings XI Punjab to halt their five-match winning streak on Friday, and in the process, kept themselves alive in the hunt for the playoffs. With three places up for grabs, we will have to wait till the last match of this IPL’s group stage, but nothing can deny the fact that both RR and Kolkata Knight Riders are still in contention for a place in the top four.
It’s been a bit of a strange period for KKR. There was a time when the team was putting up impressive performances and getting the results they wanted, but lately, it’s mostly been a struggle with sparks here and there. Neither has Dinesh Karthik’s decision to leave captaincy midway worked for the franchise nor his batting, with Eoin Morgan appearing clueless, especially against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday, allowing the three-time champions to spoil the party for them. Furthermore, their poor NRR is alarming.
After Saturday’s result, both teams have a chance to make it to the playoffs, especially with just one game to go. A win here for one team will eliminate the other, and get to 14 points, which may still not be enough to secure the berth they are desperately seeking. But stranger things have happened and then there is the deal-breaker that is the NRR, where the Royals are ahead of the Knights. Either way, there will be a result, with heartbreak for one team and somewhat joy for the other.
What: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals
When: Sunday, November 1, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
KKR may have one last trick up their sleeve, which they are likely to try out against RR. If fit, Andre Russell may replace Lockie Ferguson in the playing XI. Ferguson had given 54 runs in the previous game, and in a way cost KKR the match. Russell being a big match player is too good to be sidelined. Another change that can be expected is Shivam Mavi’s inclusion ahead of the out of touch Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
Probable XI 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Nitish Rana, 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Sunil Narine, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Shivam Mavi, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Varun Chakravarthy
Although Varun Aaron proved slightly expensive against Kings XI Punjab, it is unlikely that Steve Smith will make him sit out. Jaydev Unadkat is an option but Smith is believed to have still not recovered from the expensive 25-run over he bowled against RCB.
Probable XI: 1 Robin Uthappa, 2 Ben Stokes, 3 Steven Smith (Captain), 4 Sanju Samson (Wicketkeeper), 5 Jos Buttler, 6 Riyan Parag, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Shreyas Gopal, 10 Varun Aaron, 11 Kartik Tyagi
Stats and Trivia
– Steve Smith will play his 50th match for RR in IPL.
– Dinesh Karthik needs 80 more to reach 1000 runs for KKR in IPL.
– If Kuldeep plays, this will be his 100th T20 match.