IPL 2021: KKR vs RR Preview: Two Struggling Top-Orders Look To Reverse Dwindling Fortunes
Kolkata Knight Riders made a fine start to their IPL 2021 campaign overcoming Sunrisers Hyderabad by 10 runs in Chennai. But since then, their top order has failed and as a result they have lost three matches in a row. Rajasthan Royals too started the tournament almost chasing down a big 200-plus total set by Punjab Kings before their bowlers won them the encounter against the Capitals in Mumbai. But like KKR, their top order has collapsed in their last couple of matches which means that RR have just one win from four matches in the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The KKR top 5 have just two 30-plus scores in the 15 innings they have batted in their last three matches in IPL 2021 – that sums up the story of the poor show of KKR’s batting in the tournament. The Chahar’s have wreaked havoc on their batting line-up. While Rahul picked four wickets and triggered a dramatic collapse after a 72-run opening wicket stand in Chennai, cousin Deepak ran through the top order for CSK in Mumbai.
Nitish Rana has been the only batsman who has been consistent and got the runs at the top of the order. He has an aggregate of 164 including two fifties in four innings. Rahul Tripathi promised much after his sparkling fifty in the season opener but has failed thereafter. Shubman Gill has been the biggest disappointment for KKR so far in IPL 2021. The opener has just managed to score 69 runs in 4 matches.
Skipper, Eoin Morgan needs to contribute in the middle order. It will not be a bad idea if he pushes himself to number 3. Morgan has scored just 45 runs in 4 innings at a strike rate of 112.5.
The only positive for KKR from their defeat against CSK would be the return to form of star all-rounder Andre Russell. The West Indian showed glimpses of his form in 2019 and blasted six sixes on his way to 54 off just 22 deliveries. Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins also showed their prowess with the bat which augurs well for the KKR lower order.
The bowling has been disappointing too. Russell has picked 7 wickets but got smashed all over and has an economy rate of 12.44 in the competition. Economy has been a major problem for KKR this season. None of their bowlers have an economy rate of under 8. Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna have not got the wickets with the new ball while the mystery seems to be disappearing from the bowling of Varun Chakravarthy.
RR are placed at the bottom of the table with the worst Net Run Rate.
The top-order batting is a huge concern for the Royals. Sanju Samson’s tournament is following a similar script as last year. After starting the edition with a stunning hundred against the Punjab Kings he has registered scores of 4, 1 and 21. Manan Vohra has failed in all the four matches and has an aggregate of 42 while Dube, Buttler and Parag have clicked in just one of the four innings.
There have been some individual sparks but the batting has failed as a collective. The Royals have lost at least two wickets in the powerplay in each of their four encounters not able to build any momentum at the start. There have not been more than two substantial performances with the bat in any of the matches for the Royals.
The bowlers have performed marginally better than the batsmen. Chetan Sakariya has been impressive with 6 wickets at an economy of just under 8.5 and Jaydev Unadkat gave a Player of the Match performance against the Capitals. Mustafizur Rahman has been below par and gone at a rate of 9.35 per over.
WHEN: 24th April, 7:30 PM IST
WHERE: Mumbai, India
LIVE STREAMING: Hotstar
KKR Team News
Harbhajan Singh might come back into the XI and replace Kamlesh Nagarkoti who was expensive against CSK.
Possible Playing XI: 1 Nitish Rana, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Eoin Morgan, 4 Rahul Tripathi, 5 Sunil Narine, 6 Dinesh Karthik 7 Andre Russell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Prasidh Krishna
RR Team News
RR need to make some changes to their batting line-up. Yashasvi Jaiswal would be a good choice to replace the out of form Manan Vohra. Mustafizur Rahman has been taken for a few in a couple of matches and the experienced Andrew Tye could be drafted in his place.
Possible Playing XI: 1 Jos Buttler, 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 David Miller, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Riyan Parag, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Rahul Tewatia, 9 Chetan Sakariya, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Andrew Tye
Recent Head-to-Head: (Last 5 matches)
KKR lead the recent head to head 4-1.
KKR won by 60 runs
KKR won by 37 runs
RR won by 3 wickets
KKR won by 8 wickets
KKR won by 25 runs
To watch out for
Eoin Morgan – the KKR captain is yet to click in the tournament. Expect a big score from the England limited overs’ skipper who is also one of the most accomplished middle-order batsmen in 50 and 20 over cricket.
KKR: Tremendous fight from our middle and lower order which is all you can ask for when you lose wickets upfront like that. The first five overs of our batting didn’t go our way. We didn’t play as well as would have liked: KKR captain Eoin Morgan after a stunning fightback from his lower middle order almost took KKR to a win against CSK.
RR: We need to go back and do some homework. We need to be honest with ourselves and come back better. Need time to look into what went wrong and understand: RR captain Sanju Samson after his top order collapsed against RCB.