Read this article for IPL match 43 - KKR vs RR game analysis, KKR vs RR Dream 11 team prediction, match summary, probable XI and more.
Under the pump for the first time as Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) skipper, Dinesh Karthik's leadership skills and own form will be keenly observed when his team takes on Rajasthan Royals in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter for both outfits, here at the Eden Gardens today.
In their remaining four games, KKR have to win all of them to qualify for the play-offs. KKR, will draw confidence from their first leg meeting with Royals, where the two-time champions recorded a facile eight-wicket victory.
Karthik has a tally of 117 runs after 10 matches with only one 50. The World Cup call up has also failed to inspire the stumper-batsman who chose to go on a break to Mumbai after KKR's fifth successive defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on the road.
There have been talks about Karthik being removed as skipper even after head coach Jacques Kallis has put his weight behind the 33-year-old. The decision to send their best power hitter Andre Russell as low as No. 7 in the last few matches have only escalated the matter.
Besides Karthik, vice-captain Robin Uthappa has been struggling with his own issues. While he has managed to score more runs than Karthik, 220 to be exact in nine matches but his strike rate of 119.56 has been a real cause of concern for the two-time champions.
Uthappa wasted a lot of deliveries, which proved to be costly in their last home game against RCB. KKR fell 10 short of the 214-run target. He was dropped in their last game and so was Kuldeep Yadav who has failed to shine this season going for lot of runs and failing to deceive the batsmen.
Five cricketers- Karthik, Uthappa, wicket-keeper Nikhil Naik and pacers Shrikant Munde and Prithvi Raj Yarra- went to Mumbai for a break, a move Kallis said was done to take the players away from the game a bit and re-energise.
Coming to the visitors, Royals, placed seventh in the points and in need to win their remaining four matches in order to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs, will be boosted by Ajinkya Rahane's form. The India test specialist, removed from captaincy as Steve Smith took over, scored a magnificent hundred in their last game against Delhi Capitals.
Royals lost the game but Rahane's show was encouraging to say the least. Royals will be without Jos Buttler once again but for the last time will get the services of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, the latter being their key bowler along with spinner Shreyas Gopal.
Archer and Stokes will join the England squad for World Cup preparation with the deadline being April 26. Archer is not part of the 15-member contingent but has made it to the England limited-overs' squad for the Pakistan ODI series.
KKR has some great all-rounders and you should have at least one of them. Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have both been consistent performers in this season of the IPL and we expect them to perform similarly in this game as well. Though RR is something of a soft target, they have to keep in mind not to take the team lightly. Shubhman Gill is a reliable batsman who has shown his potential on the field. He has quickly become a fan favourite and with his batting prowess on side, you’ve got an unbeatable team.
Rajasthan, have some stars in their rank with the likes of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson. However, all of them have failed to live up to expectations, although Smith is coming into his own off late. Therefore, it would be a perfect time to pick Steven Smith, Shreyas Gopal and Sanju Samson.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa (wicket-keeper), Harry Gurnley, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, K.C. Cariappa, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj, Prasidh Krishna.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith (Captain), Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Liam Livinstone, Shubham Rajane, Manan Vohra, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C & wk), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Yarra Prithviraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Matt Kelly.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith (C), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Ashton Turner, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni.