New Delhi: At the Eden Gardens on Wednesday, home side KKR will take on RR in the Eliminator of the IPL 11. Unlike the first qualifier, where the losing team would still hold a chance to make it to the final, the Eliminator will see either of the team ending it's campaign with a loss.
KKR and RR have ended 3rd and 4th respectively on the points table. But while KKR had a great start, RR pulled off exciting wins towards the later part of the campaign to just about making the playoffs.
As a matchup and on paper, KKR looks a dominant side. There is a reason to that as RR will be playing the playoffs without their two best players -- Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes -- who had to leave the IPL in-between due to national commitments.
RR have benefitted immensely through Buttler's pyrotechnical form while Stokes produced spells of tight and economical bowling. But the Ajinkya Rahane lead side will have to find ways to string together performances against a side that is not just oozing confidence but is brimming with accomplished names.
As far as the head-to-head record is concerned, KKR will have the upper hand as they beat RR twice this season. At the start of the season, it were the batsmen that stood up for the side but they developed their bowling well as the campaign reached the fag end of the group stages.
Royals could depend on Rahul tripathi to provide them a rousing start but it will be interesting to see how Ajinkya Rahane conceptualises his batting. With literally a fragile batting order, Rahane will have to take it upon himself to anchor the innings.
On the other hand, KKR would expect Sunil Narine to fire at the top. His all-round abilities have been pivotal to KKr's success and this is the time when Narine can assure KKR of his worth.
These are the players to watch out for:
1. Chris Lynn: When he batted against RR in the last outing, he showed a ken approach and really paced his innings well. KNown to be big hitter, he showed he could anchor the innings as well. Facing RR once again, he will be well aware how to which bowlers to target. Getting Lynn will be a boost for RR as off late KKR middle order has faced a slump.
2.Sunil Narine: In whatever way he fires, it will provide a huge fillip in KKR's fortunes. His quickfire approach at the topm with a strike rate of almost over 160 in batting can lay a solid platform while his knack of picking quality batsman can give KKR the edge opver RR.
3. Sanju Samson: We could have bet on Rahul Tripathi on his current form but the number where Samson bats, it will be the most crucial slot in their batting. He has it in him to take on the opposition while he has showed promise in crafting an innings. Even if RR lose early wickets, Samson's stay on the crease will be imperative as it will not only ensure a platform but can also help RR give something to their bowlers to defend in the Eliminator.