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High-scoring KKR vs miserly Royals as IPL’s top two square off

Suryakumar Yadav gets the ramp going in the nets
High-scoring KKR vs miserly Royals as IPL’s top two square off


Match details

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR – 2nd; P5 W4 L1) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR – 1st; P6 W5 L1)

Kolkata, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture

First versus second. Bowling versus batting. On Tuesday at Eden Gardens, Rajasthan Royals, the team with the best combined economy rate in the IPL (8.33) will come up against Kolkata Knight Riders, the team with the best scoring rate (10.43).

Royals have an attack full of experience and guile that time and again comes away from games having controlled each phase of a bowling innings. KKR have a line-up of seemingly endless depth, thanks to a pair of ageless West Indian allrounders, which gives their batters almost limitless freedom to play their shots.

These are two very different teams, but they’re similar in how innovative they can be in tactical terms. If enough players on both sides click, then, this contest could be quite a feast for the viewer.

Form guide

Kolkata Knight Riders WLWWW (most recent match first)

Rajasthan Royals WLWWW

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Kolkata Knight Riders

Nitish Rana hasn’t featured for KKR since injuring his hand during their first game of the season, against Sunrisers Hyderabad on March 23. Rana was seen training ahead of their most recent game, against Lucknow Super Giants, and KKR will certainly be tempted to play him if he’s fully fit – particularly if R Ashwin is in the opposition (more on this shortly).

Likely XII 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Angkrish Raghuvanshi/Nitish Rana, 4 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 5 Venkatesh Iyer, 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Ramandeep Singh, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Vaibhav Arora, 11 Harshit Rana, 12 Varun Chakravarthy.

Rajasthan Royals

Jos Buttler and Ashwin missed Royals’ most recent match, against Punjab Kings on Saturday, with niggles. Both are expected to slot back in if fit, with Tanush Kotian – an offspinner who didn’t bowl and opened the batting in that game against Punjab – and either Rovman Powell or Keshav Maharaj, depending on the toss result, returning to the subs bench.

Likely XII 1 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 2 Jos Buttler, 3 Sanju Samson (capt & wk), 4 Riyan Parag, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Dhruv Jurel, 7 Rovman Powell/Keshav Maharaj, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Kuldeep Sen, 12 Yuzvendra Chahal.

In the spotlight

Harshit Rana was an unsung hero for KKR in their win over LSG on Sunday, his figures of 0 for 35 concealing how much of an impact he made by conceding just 16 off 11 balls to Nicholas Pooran despite their skirmish taking place during the 17th and 19th overs. Harshit’s changes of pace and use of the over-the-wicket angle to slant the ball away from the left-hander’s hitting arc were crucial to this, and he might need to call on those defensive skills again if he comes up against Shimron Hetmyer on Tuesday.

R Ashwin is a master against left-hand batters, but he’s not enjoyed bowling to two prominent KKR left-handers. Nitish Rana has hit him for 108 runs in 58 balls without being dismissed, while Sunil Narine has tonked him for 60 off 22 while being dismissed once.

Stats that matter

  • Of the eight KKR batters to score at least 50 runs this season, six have 150-plus strike rates, and one has gone at 144.44. The exception to this rule of fast scoring has been Shreyas Iyer, whose 129 runs have come at 120.56.
  • Yuzvendra Chahal has taken a wicket every 12 balls in IPL 2024, his best strike rate for any season of this tournament.
  • Chahal needs three wickets to reach the 350 mark in T20 cricket.
  • Avesh Khan has bowled the joint-most overs (10) at the death (last four) of any bowler in IPL 2024 alongside Mustafizur Rahman and Mohit Sharma, and his economy rate (9.30) puts him in the top half of bowlers who have sent down at least five overs in that phase this season.
  • In two games at Eden Gardens so far this season, Sunil Narine has an economy rate of 4.50 across eight overs, and hasn’t conceded a single boundary. The other spinners in those games have gone for a combined 10.01 per over.
  • Pitch and conditions

    Eden Gardens has only hosted two games so far this season – a run-fest in late March where KKR narrowly defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad, and a lower-scoring outing on Sunday afternoon when KKR brushed aside a diffident LSG unit. It’s not a large enough sample size to draw too many conclusions from, but by and large the ball tends to come onto the bat here, and the outfield is lightning quick.

    Karthik Krishnaswamy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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