The KKR eye won beautifully over RK to stay ahead in the play-off race

The two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be looking for a beautiful victory over Rajasthan Royals in their final round-robin game to stay ahead of the IPL play-off race here on Thursday.

With 12 points from 13 matches, KKR is currently fourth in the Peking Order with a net run rate ahead of defending champions Mumbai Indians.

MI also have 12 points from 13 games and have one more match to play against bottom-ranked Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

If both KKR and MI win their last matches, it will drop to a net run rate and the Ion Morgan-led team will have an edge (- 0.048) as they are currently enjoying a positive run rate compared to the Mumbai outfit (- 0.048).

KKR have had a mixed bag in the second leg of the tournament so far, winning four and losing two games.

KKR won the second leg before losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore and MI to Chennai Super Kings.

After the defeat to the Punjab Kings, they defeated SRH by six wickets to put their nose in front of the race for the final play-off spot.

KKR impressed in the second half and both their defeats were narrow, losing in the last over.

In the batting department, Venkatesh Iyer was the star performer in the second leg for KKR, while Rahul Tripathi also impressed this season.

Young Shubhman Gill scored a fine half-century in KKR’s last match, which will benefit the team. Nitish Rana also excelled in the batting order but captain Morgan’s form is worrying.

Bangladesh star rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s participation in the last match for the first time in the second match gave a new dimension to the team.

In bowling, mystery spinner Varun Chakraborty is the team’s go-to man, while Sunil Narine is also in the wickets.

In the absence of Andre Russell and Lucky Ferguson, who missed a few games after injuries, TK Southee and Shivam Mavi are the new pace bowling duo for KKR.

Pacer Prasidh Krishna took four wickets in his matches and was dropped after scoring 22 runs in the 19th over against CSK.

RR is out of the race, finishing seventh in the eight-team rankings with 10 points from 13 games.

And come Thursday, RR looks to fulfill KKR hopes and end their campaign positively.

RR was severely damaged in the form of their Indian batsmen. With the exception of Yashahvi Jaiswal and to some extent, captain Sanju Samson, the team’s Indian batsmen lacked intent.

As Mustafizur Rahman is among their most experienced foreign signature and young Chetan Zakaria ranks, RR’s bowling experience is a bit thinner.

Teams:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eon Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Shubhman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lucky Ferguson, Pawan Negi, M. Prasad Krishna, Sandeep Warrior, Shiv , Tim Southee, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakraborty, Andre Russell, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seafert.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain), Liam Livingstone, Evin Lewis, David Miller, Chris Morris, Oceane Thomas, Mustafizur Rahman, Tabriz Shamsi, Glenn Phillips, Chetan Zakaria, Ryan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Anushka Singh, Akash Singh Dubey, Shreyas Gopal, Karthik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, Jayadev Unadkat, Kuldeep Yadav, Mahipal Lomrer.

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