Rajasthan Royals got to winning ways in their previous encounter, against Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the second of our three back-to-back home games, we host Kolkata Knight Riders, who have been in some red-hot form of late. On the back of an Andre Russell epic, the Knights arrive in Jaipur after an epic chase against RCB in Bengaluru. The conditions at the Sawai Mansingh will be entirely different as compared to the one they experienced at the M. Chinnaswamy. With our batsmen and bowlers getting into fine touch, this battle could be one that promises grit and excitement in equal measure. Powerplay of Numbers Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders have gone at each other on 18 occasions, and both teams have nine wins each; it’s pretty much even stevens at the moment. We have hosted them on five occasions in Jaipur, and we have a slight edge over them, having won 3 of these games. The Knights have some powerful hitters in their line-up. The likes of Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and the Indian contingent can hit the long ball on most grounds. However, it may prove a bit difficult to do so at the SMS with brisk winds and a potential large boundary on one side. Moreover, they will have to contend with a bowling side that is in fine form at the moment. Dynamic Duels Rahul Tripathi vs KKR Spinners Tripathi has been in among the runs in our last two matches. He has come in during two varying situations, but tackled both with prowess. Tripathi boasts soaring Strike Rates of 242.9 and 166.7 against KKR’s lethal spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine, respectively. He has already scored 50 runs against Narine in the Vivo IPL. Of the two spinners, Kuldeep is the only one who has managed to dismiss him once. Krishnappa Gowtham vs Chris Lynn Gowtham opened the bowling for us against RCB. It may be a good option to give him a go once again. Gowtham has conceded just 11 runs off 17 ball against Lynn, and has dismissed him once as well. Gowtham’s challenge though would be to contain Narine, who happens to have a strike-rate of over 200 against our offie. A different season could mean a turn in fortunes for Gowtham. Anyone fancying him to dismiss both their openers? Jos Buttler vs Andre Russell Two matches and two half-centuries at the SMS – life’s good for Buttler at our fortress, and we hope it stays the same till the end of the season. Buttler fancies his chances against Russell, who he has belted for 48 runs off 32 balls. However, Jos has lost his wicket to the Jamaican on two occasions too. This calls for a mouth-watering battle. Both KKR and RR are on the back of important victories. The SMS may not be a high-scoring ground traditionally, as both bowlers and batsmen are tested adequately on the surface. It could come down to the battle of wits between the two smart captains, Rahane and Karthik, and which team can handle the pressure better on the day. All in all, expect an encounter that will not disappoint you. Halla Bol!
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