Desperate, the Kolkata Knight Riders will look to get their campaign back on track after a losing treble when they face the besieged Rajasthan Royals in their IPL clash here on Saturday.
Big on paper, KKR, led by World Cup-winning English skipper Eoin Morgan, have so far failed to come together as a unit and have slipped to sixth in the standings after having started the tournament on the right foot against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Facing the lower-ranked Rajasthan Royals who have been the most inconsistent team so far this season, KKR will be in desperate need of a turnaround.
Pat Cummins’ rise as a batsman in their 18-point loss to CSK will provide a big boost, but that can’t forget the failure of their star batsmen, who floundered even while chasing even a modest target. . The setters also fled leads in the death overs.
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– CalcuttaKnightRiders (@KKRiders) April 23, 2021
After struggling on Chepauk’s slow surface, KKR had hoped to find their way back to victory at Wankhede, but Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad attacked the cleaners and amassed a whopping 220 for 3 in their previous match.
If that wasn’t all, their famous top five, including Shubman Gill and Morgan, made it inside Powerplay.
Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik then revived the chase before Cummins produced sensational powerful strikes, slamming a 66 from 34 balls before running out of partners as KKR finished on 202 after being 31/5 in 5.2 overs.
“Everyone is pumped. I’m sure if we get one or two wins we’ll be on the way and fly. I think there’s a feeling that we can win from pretty much anywhere, ”Cummins said.
The other bright spot was Russell’s return to form. It was his 54 out of 22 balls that set the tone and it wouldn’t be a bad ploy for Morgan to promote the Jamaican in order, while Cummins provides a late blitz.
The skipper himself will be looking to come back among the descents, while he will also be concerned about Gill, who once again failed to convert his starts and came back with a golden duck against CSK.
The Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, enter the game after a humiliating 10 wicket loss to RCB. Sanju Samson’s men failed to inspire after signing their only win of the tournament, against the Delhi Capitals in their second game.
Samson fizzled out after a blistering 119 against the Punjab Kings and the top and middle of the order look shaky with Jos Buttler, Manan Vohra and David Miller in bad shape.
Bowling is also a big concern for the inaugural edition champions as their big buy Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman struggled to verify the races.
They also have limited options overseas, with Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes being left out due to injuries, while Liam Livingstone left citing bio-bubble fatigue.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Riyan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav and Akash Singh.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.