The good news for the Kolkata Knight Riders is that both Andre Russell and Lucky Ferguson may be available for their final group league game against the Rajasthan Royals. During KKR’s Twitter handle match, the couple posted a picture of the net, “Where is Russell? Where is Locky? Well they are on the training ground, firing in all cylinders.
Injuries put Russell and Ferguson aside and getting them back for an important game would be a real shot for the franchise. With 12 points from 13 matches and a net run-rate of +0.29, a win over the Royals has the potential to take the two-time IPL champions to the playoffs.
If Russell and / or Ferguson return to the playing XI, it could be at the expense of Shakib Al Hasan and / or Tim Southee, respectively. But there is a catch. There have been rumors that spinner Varun Chakraborty is playing with a deceptive knee and if the reports are true, the KKR ownership will be in a dilemma to play the mystery spinner before the knockouts. In that case, they will have to keep Shakib as their second spinner and change the combination again.
The Royals are still in their hands, but have canceled their playoff chances unless they melt down on the Mumbai Indians. They have 10 points from 13 games and the win over KKR will reach 12. But the Royals net run rate of -0.73 was still a serious obstacle to their progress and after shrinking to 90, one or two changes in the batting line-up were expected, with Liam Livingstone returning to replace Glenn Phillips. In the bowling department, Karthik Tyagi could be the choice for Kuldeep Yadav.
Kolkata Knight Riders XI: Shubhman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Ion Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell / Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Lucky Ferguson / Tim Southee, Prasid Krishna, Varun Chakraborty
Rajasthan Royals Opportunity XI: Evin Lewis, Yashaswi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dubey, Liam Livingstone / Glenn Phillips, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Kuldeep Yadav / Karthik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Zakaria