Supported by Pat Cummins‘late blitz against Chennai Super Kings, inflated Kolkata Knight Readers will finally try to get their campaign back on track after a hat-trick of defeats when they face a besieged Rajasthan Royal IPL collision here on saturday.
Big on paper, KKR, led by the skipper, won the World Cup Eoin Morgan, so far failed to come together as a unit and slipped to sixth place in the table after starting the tournament high against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Faced with the lowest-ranked Rajasthan Royals, which was the most inconsistent team so far this season, KKR will desperately want to make a turnaround.
The rise of Pat Cummins as a batsman in their 18 CSK defeats will provide a big boost, but it can’t reflect the failure of their stellar batsmen, who have become overwhelmed even as they pursue even a modest goal. The seamstresses have also leaked death cards.
After battling the slow surface of Chepauk, KKR hoped to return to Wankhede’s lucrative paths, but Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad attacked their cleaners and collected a huge 220 for 3 in their previous match.
If that wasn’t all, their famous top 5 included Shubman Gil and Morgan, delivered to Powerplay.
Andre Russell and Dinesh Kartik then revived the chase before Cummins created a sensationally powerful kill, hitting a 34-ball 66, not before running out of partners as KKR finished at 202 after 31/5 in 5.2 over.
“Everyone is inflated. I’m sure that if we win one or two victories and we go on the road and fly. I think there is a feeling that we can win basically from anywhere,” said Cummins.
The other positive result is Russell’s return to form. His 54 of 22 balls set the tone and it wouldn’t be a bad trick for Morgan to raise the Jamaican in line while Cummins offered a late blitz.
The skipper himself will strive to get back on track, while he will also be worried about Gil, who once again failed to convert his starts and he returned with a golden duck against CSK.
Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, entered the match after a humiliating 10-wicket loss against RCB. Sanju Samson’s men failed to inspire after announcing their only victory in the tournament against Delhi Capitals in their second match.
Samson fell apart after the flaming 119 against the Punjab Kings, and the top and middle rows look fragile with Joss Butler, Manan Vohra and David Miller, enduring in poor shape.
Bowling is also a big concern for the champions for the first edition, as their big purchase is Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman have struggled to check tracks.
They also have limited foreign opportunities, with Joffra Archer and Ben Stokes being ruled 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, Jade’s uncut, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav and Akash Singh.
Knights of Kolkata: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine,, Kuldeep yadav, Shivam Mavi, Loki Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkotti, Sandip Voyn, Prasid Krishna, Rahul Tripati, Varun Chakravarti, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.
The match starts: 7.30 pm IST.