Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], May 10 (ANI): Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will lock horns in the 56th match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
The Royals will go into the KKR clash on the back of a few unpleasant results. Having lost three matches on the bounce, the Men In Pink are out of the top four for the first time this season. But with three more matches to play, the Sanju Samson-led side can get back into the reckoning for a place in the IPL 2023 play-off with a positive result in the City of Joy.
However, RR realise that the job will be tough, given the form that KKR are in at the minute. Having chased down 180 against the Punjab Kings in their previous encounter, the Kolkata franchise is in contention for a place in the playoffs and is currently at the sixth position on the IPL 2023 points table, a place below the Royals.
The pitch at the Eden Gardens might put the Royals at an advantage, going into the clash. It is likely to produce a batting-friendly surface where one can trust the pace and the bounce and play through the line without any fears of the ball gripping the surface and coming onto the bat slowly. The average first innings score here over the five matches this season is 205, with the Chennai Super Kings recording the highest team total here this season — 235/4.
But the bowlers, too, can thrive on this surface. The middle overs can be crucial if the slow ball bowlers can get enough out of the pitch. So far, in the ongoing IPL season, spinners have accounted for 32 wickets in 10 innings with an economy of 8.6.
On a track where scoring is likely to be easy, the slow bowlers will have a crucial role to play in keeping the scoring in check.
And though there’s not much to choose between the two sides, with the Royals winning 12 of the 27 matches between the two, at the Eden Gardens, KKR have six wins from the eight matches so far.
The battle to watch out for
It’s difficult to keep Yuzvendra Chahal when it comes to a conversation around T20 cricket. One of the finest cricketers to play the format, Chahal has been a vital cog in the Royals’ wheel.
Along with veteran spin twin R Ashwin, the 32-year-old has shouldered the bowling responsibility with aplomb and stands on the cusp of history going into the KKR match. But what should excite many is his battle with explosive Englishman Jason Roy. (ANI)
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