The much-anticipated clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens in the 56th match of IPL 2023 promises to be an epic encounter, given the current state of the points table. Both teams have ten points from eleven games, meaning they have won five games.
However, their paths to this point have been strikingly different. Rajasthan have lost four of their last five games, while KKR have won three of their last four. The question on everyone's mind is whether KKR has peaked at the right time, or is it too late for them to mount a serious challenge.
This is a critical fixture for both teams, and neither will want to leave anything to chance. KKR enters this game on the back of a nail-biting last-ball victory, courtesy of their hero, Rinku Singh, who played a match-winning knock. In contrast, RR suffered a crushing defeat in their last game, failing to defend 41 runs in the final two overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
KKR's batting lineup has been immensely strengthened by the arrival of Jason Roy, who has provided fantastic starts to the team in the games he's played. Additionally, Nitish Rana has found his form once again, while the hard-hitting duo of Andre Russell and Rinku Singh have provided the necessary finishing touches.
The team's spin attack is also quite formidable, led by the likes of Varun Chakaravarthy and Suyash Sharma. However, their pace bowling attack comprises inexperienced bowlers, which Rajasthan Royals could potentially exploit.
We expect no changes to the playing XI
Predicted Lineup: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Varun Chakaravarthy
Despite coming off a loss, Rajasthan Royals' batting lineup has been nothing short of exceptional. In the previous game, Jos Buttler smashed a brilliant 95 off 59 deliveries, while skipper Sanju Samson played a captain's knock with an unbeaten 66 off just 38 balls.
Additionally, young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal provided a quickfire start, scoring 35 off just 18 deliveries. However, their bowling attack has been quite average, and they have made some costly errors. In particular, Kuldip Yadav was taken to the cleaners, conceding 50 runs in his 4 overs. The team will need to learn from its mistakes and come back strong to keep their hopes of making it to the playoffs alive
They might go for an extra bowling option.
Predicted Lineup: Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, Dhruv Jurel, Jason Holder, Trent Boult, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal, Sandeep Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal
Both KKR and RR have had their fair share of ups and downs, but their current standings in the points table make this match a must-win for both sides. With only three games left in the season, both teams are well aware of the importance of this fixture.
This season has been one of the most competitive IPL seasons, and the race for the playoffs is wide open. The Eden Gardens will be packed with KKR supporters, providing the home team with a much-needed boost. However, RR's formidable batting may prove too much for KKR's inexperienced fast bowlers, especially with Umesh Yadav out injured.