IPL 2019: KKR vs RR - A battle of survival

Both Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals can put no foot wrong when they face

Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata Knight Riders' batting department under-performed repeatedly and the spin department failed to raise the bowling out of mediocrity.   -  PTI

Left with the task of having to win every match going forward, Kolkata Knight Riders is desperately invoking the form that made it one of the teams to beat at the start of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League. The team experienced its last win five matches ago visiting Jaipur and it will now face Rajasthan Royals in the return leg on Thursday.

KKR captain Dinesh Karthik faces a curious situation juxtaposing the delight of making the ICC World Cup squad and the despair of seeing the team plummet to the bottom half of the standings after suffering five straight loses.

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Coach Jacques Kallis strongly remained by Karthik’s side when quizzed about the captain’s fate, saying the team management never discussed possibility of relieving the latter of his duty. It now rests on the captain to lead by example in hauling the side out of its crisis.

Karthik not been very inspiring so far, managing a moderate average of 16.71 in the nine innings he has played while the West Indian tempest Andre Russell has, almost single-handedly, secured the four wins KKR has managed so far.

This highlighted the home team’s crisis, where the batting department under-performed repeatedly and the spin department failed to raise the bowling out of mediocrity. Karthik now needs to inspire a big turnaround to secure KKR’s survival in the tournament.

Positioned a place below KKR in the seventh spot, Royals has also had an ordinary journey, managing only three wins so far in all its games.

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Looking to alter its fortune, the Royals have already effected a change in leadership, replacing Ajinkya Rahane with Australia’s Steve Smith. This fetched mixed results for the team as it won one and lost one in the last two outings. It seems to have had a positive impact on Rahane, though, as he returned to good form with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 105 against Delhi Capitals.

As the two sides rearrange their strategies, the match at Eden is expected to bring up a nice contest.

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