IPL 2018: KKR and RR to battle it out in must-win tie

As the race for the remaining two spots intensifies, KKR, following its remarkable roller-coaster ride, will be keen to finish its home engagement on a high and inch closer to booking a slot in the playoffs.

Despite the late charge of RR, KKR seems to have an edge in the eagerly anticipated contest.   -  AFP

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), which have added immense thrill to the Indian Premier League (IPL) because of their ability to bounce back, promise to offer high-quality entertainment in a crucial engagement at the Eden Gardens, here, on Tuesday.

As the race for the remaining two spots intensifies, KKR, following its remarkable roller-coaster ride, will be keen to finish its home engagement on a high and inch closer to booking a slot in the playoffs.

Its last performance in Pune, where KKR posted a whopping 245 for six, its highest total of the season, would be a huge confidence-booster for the host.

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KKR’s batting clicked the other day, with its top five batsmen getting runs at impressive strike rates. The good use of the powerplay overs by its opening duo, Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine, impelled the KKR innings and the following batsmen performed freely to erect a mountain of runs, and put Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) under tremendous pressure.

Incidentally, KKR’s victories have kept pace with Narine’s success with the bat. KKR will hope that its batting line-up, comprising captain Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill, builds on the momentum and delivers consistently when it matters the most.

“If we play two good games of cricket, destiny is in our hands,” said KKR coach Jacques Kallis, stressing the importance of wins.

 

The team, which has been over-reliant on its spin trio, will pray for the return of youngster Shivam Mavi, who has been out of action due to a finger injury, to bolster its pace attack.

RR’s three consecutive wins have dramatically changed its fortune, from being on the verge of elimination to the threshold of qualification.

It was possible, primarily, due to the stellar effort of Jos Buttler, who has struck five consecutive half-centuries, including match-winning unbeaten 90s in the last two matches.

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Besides, RR’s batting is also dependent on the good show of wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson and captain Ajinkya Rahane. The responsibility of the visitors’ bowling rests on pacers Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat, and spinner K. Gowtham.

Despite the late charge of RR, KKR seems to have an edge in the eagerly anticipated contest.

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