The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season is set to witness the Rajasthan Royals face Kolkata Knight Riders in match number 18 on Saturday. The match is set to be held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. After managing to hold on in their first game, KKR have suffered three successive losses. Their last game at the Wankhede was a thriller after a batting collapse. Meanwhile, the Royals have stuttered as well, losing by 10 wickets in the previous match in Mumbai against the RCB. KKR are stationed at sixth with two points as RR are last with the same number of points but an inferior NRR.
After a batting failure against MI from a position of comfort, KKR were outplayed in all three departments by the RCB. And then against CSK, KKR not only conceded 220 but also suffered in their chase after a collapse in batting. They did manage to get past 200. For two straight games, KKR have given away in excess of 200-plus runs. Their bowling is a major worry after some early promise. Pat Cummins has leaked runs and so have the other pacers. With the bat, the side is inconsistent and poor judgment has led to them losing wickets. If KKR are to bounce back, they need a much better show across all departments. Against a struggling RR, the Knights have a real chance.
RR have issues in batting and that’s a cause of concern. They haven’t quite managed to get hold of themselves as Sanju Samson will be worried. He needs to do more after failing in his last three innings post a century in the first match. The Indian batsmen in the ranks are a worry. With little support, the pressure is on the likes of Samson and Jos Buttler. The Englishman has also not been up to the mark. RR were hapless with the ball against RCB on Thursday after Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal decimated their line-up. Like KKR, the Royals need inspiration from somewhere. The Wankhede pitch will promise runs aplenty and it’s about winning the pivotal moments between bat and ball.
Key details of the match
The match is set to be held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It’s scheduled to start at 7:30 PM IST. Fans can watch the action live on the Star Sports Network in their preferred languages. One can also stream the match live on the Disney+ Hotstar app (paid subscription).
Here’s the preview
KKR are expected to make a change and perhaps include a spinner in place of Kamlesh Nagarkoti. They might also decide to bring in pacer Shivam Mavi, who has a better record. KKR cannot afford another poor start. They need to use the conditions and bat wisely. The positive factor is the form of Andre Russell, who enjoyed himself on this pitch against CSK. KKR have to work on bowling though. It’s a department that has plagued them in the last two games. Morgan needs to be more decisive in his approach and make sound decisions. He has to fire with the bat as well. Prasidh Krishna cannot afford to give away runs at will. He has to support Varun Chakravarthy. For KKR, they need partnerships in both bowling and fielding. It’s a match they will target two crucial points.
For RR, it remains to bse seen what route they take. A lot will depend on Chris Morris to lead an inexperienced bowling attack, which by its standards is learning with each passing game. Jaydev Unadkat may come back after Shreyas Gopal was poor in the previous game. Mustafizur Rahman and Chetan Sakariya will need to offer more here. RR know the only way they can overcome KKR is by playing a complete game. They need to control their variations with the ball and the batsmen have to be patient rather than forcing things. RR need a solid start and this is one thing that has eluded them so far. RR have suffered twin blows after Jofra Archer was the second player to get ruled out after Ben Stokes. Meanwhile, Liam Livingstone departed after citing bio-bubble fatigue.
Probable playing XIs: RR vs KKR
RR probable playing XI:
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson (c), David Miller, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Chetan Sakariya, Jaydev Unadkat, Mustafizur Rahman
KKR probable playing XI:
Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shakib Al Hasan/Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh/Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Dream11 team prediction (option 1)
Batsmen: Jos Buttler (wk), Riyan Parag, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill
All-rounders: Andre Russell (c), Chris Morris, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia
Bowlers: Varun Chakravarthy (vc), Pat Cummins, Chetan Sakariya
Dream11 team prediction (option 2)
Batsmen: Sanju Samson (wk), Riyan Parag, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik
All-rounders: Andre Russell, Chris Morris (c), Rahul Tewatia (vc)
Bowlers: Varun Chakravarthy, Pat Cummins, Chetan Sakariya
Which players can be the top picks in the Dream11 team?
Andre Russell is a must in the line-up. He is someone who will enjoy at the Wankhede. He hammered runs against CSK here after struggling in Chennai in the first three games. Russell will relish playing against RR’s bowling.
Shivam Dube and Chris Morris are top picks as well. They need to stand tall and deliver.
In the bowling department, Varun should be selected. He has done an able job so far.
Dream11 fantasy: Captain choices
Andre Russell: Russell can be ominous for the RR bowlers and his confidence will be high after a stellar show in the previous match. He was in his comfort zone and attacked the bowlers. This could be his game.
Chris Morris: The RR all-rounder is his side’s best bet to make things work on the field. He is an able wicket-taker besides being known for his attributes in getting the big shots.
Dream11 fantasy: Vice-captain choices
In terms of vice-captaincy, Chakravarthy is a sound option. The spinner has impressed the ball and will be KKR’s best bet. Also, Tewatia can be tried as well. He is a handy customer as an all-rounder.
Pitch report and conditions
The pitch at the Wankhede has supported batting at large. Both teams will look to chase as dew will play a role. The Wankhede has produced high-scoring affairs this season. No rain is predicted as humidity will play its role.
The average first innings score here is 176. This season has seen the average score rise up as teams have enjoyed themselves across both innings.
The two teams have faced each other on 23 occasions. KKR have won 12 games and RR have pocketed the remaining 10. One match didn’t have a result. These two teams met twice in IPL 2020 and KKR won both games.
We feel KKR can get past the line here. They have a better batting unit.