Deadline: April 25, 2019 at 8 PM IST
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Pitch, scores, and conditions
The average first and second innings scores, at Kolkata this season, read 190 and 184 respectively. In 10 innings, there have been 8 scores in excess of 175, suggesting that there is very little for the bowlers to exploit. Expect another high-scoring game at the Mecca of Indian cricket.
Probable XI for Kolkata: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Prithvi Raj, KC Cariappa, Harry Gurney/Lockie Fergusson
Probable XI for Rajasthan: Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Samson (c), Ben Stokes, Ashton Turner/Liam Livingstone, Stuart Binny, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni/Varun Aaron
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My XI: Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell (c), Sunil Narine, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal (vc), Prithvi Raj
Kolkata have lost five games on the trot and are stuttering at the sixth position in the points table – all this after winning four of their first five matches. Rajasthan, on the other hand, have lost one game more than Kolkata.
Kolkata put up a brilliant bowling show in their previous contest against Rajasthan, restricting the hosts for 139 for 3. Gurney was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2 for 25. Lynn and Narine then added 91 runs for the first wicket, laying a strong foundation. Kolkata eventually chased down the target with 6.1 overs and 8 wickets in hand.
Players to watch out for
There were questions raised not only over Rahane’s captaincy but also his form. The team management thus decided to rid him off the leadership burden, naming Smith the captain. Rahane replied with a spectacular hundred, his second in the IPL. There was aggression laced with panache. Few, very few players are armed with qualities that Rahane possesses. The franchise would want more of such knocks in the remainder of the tournament. In all, he has scored 318 runs in 10 matches.
Smith, against Delhi on Monday, batted like he always does. He is a different player when at the helm – confident and decisive. Along with Rahane, he stitched 130 runs for the second wicket, and in the process, he notched up his second fifty of the season.
For Kolkata, no batter has been as effective as Russell. Rana played a few blinders, but he lacks consistency. One good innings is followed by two bad ones. Russell, meanwhile, looks unbeatable. He has bludgeoned 392 runs at 65.3.
While no bowler from Kolkata features in the list of top 10 wicket-takers of the season, Rajasthan have Gopal and Archer. The spin-pace duo has been excellent even at crucial junctures. While Gopal has pouched 12 wickets, Archer has taken a wicket fewer.
Kolkata: Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Yarra Prithviraj, KC Cariappa, Harry Gurney, Robin Uthappa, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Carlos Brathwaite, Kuldeep Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Matthew Kelly
Rajasthan: Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Smith (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Ashton Turner, Stuart Binny, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Prashant Chopra, Manan Vohra, Aryaman Birla, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Mahipal Lomror, Ish Sodhi, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Sudhesan Midhun.