The Rajasthan Royals (RR) will face the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in game 30 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Both teams have suffered setbacks in recent matches, so they will be keen to make a strong comeback. Rajasthan are now occupying the 5th place in the points table, having won three and lost two. They went down to the Gujarat Titans (GT) by 37 runs in their last game. Kolkata are placed sixth, having gone down to the Delhi Capitals (DC) by 44 runs and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by seven wickets in their last two matches. As the teams look to bounce back, here are five player battles to watch out for.
1. Jos Buttler vs Umesh Yadav: RR opener Jos Buttler has been in incredible form for Rajasthan. His last four scores in IPL 2022 read 100, 70*, 13 and 54. He just seems to be batting on a different planet. In the last game, as long as Buttler was at the crease, Rajasthan looked in command. As soon as he was dismissed, they just fell apart. Considering the kind of impact Buttler makes during his presence at the crease, KKR would want to see the back of him early. Umesh Yadav has been excellent for KKR with the early wickets in IPL 2022. In the last two games, he hasn’t looked as threatening. For Kolkata’s sake, Yadav will have to rediscover his mojo and dislodge Buttler early.
2. Shreyas Iyer vs Prasidh Krishna: KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer has been batting well, but he hasn’t been getting the big scores. He was looking good in the last game as well until he was troubled by the bouncers from SRH pacers and was eventually yorked by Umran Malik. No doubt, Shreyas is one of the most talented batters in the international circuit, but IPL opponents would have observed his recent struggles. RR can plan well against him and utilize the skills of Prasidh Krishna. The young bowler can generate both pace and bounce to trouble Shreyas. Will RR go that way?
3. Shimron Hetmyer vs Sunil Narine: Andre Russell apart, Shimron Hetmyer and Sunil Narine have been the two most consistent West Indian performers in IPL 2022. Hetmyer has come in and slammed the ball with ease in the second half of RR’s innings. The left-hander has hammered 197 runs in five games at a strike rate of 177.48. He will be keen to carry on the great run. Narine has been equally impressive for KKR with the ball. Opponents have found it impossible to get him away. While he has claimed only four wickets, he has a sensational economy rate of 5. Can Hetmyer crack the Narine code?
4. Andre Russell vs Yuzvendra Chahal: This will be enticing contest if it happens. Andre Russell has been in fantastic big-hitting form in IPL 2022. He has come in and taken on the bowling right away and has been successful more often than not. There is only one way Russell plays and that is definitely not going to change. However, the task will not be easy for Russell against Yuzvendra Chahal. The leggie has been in wonderful form and has foxed a run of batters with his variations. He will look to trick Russell as well into a false stroke.
5. Nitish Rana vs Ravichandran Ashwin: KKR batter Nitish Rana and RR’s Ravichandran Ashwin are sailing in a similar boat. Rana got a fifty in the last game after a dry run, so he will want to build on the same. Ashwin has been up and down. He has gone a few runs in some matches and has been economical in others. He will want to claim a few wickets. Both Rana and Ashwin could take on each other with a point to prove.