Match 17 Preview: Royals Ready for War Against the Knights

The dynamics between the two teams have changed, after Gambhir’s men thumped Rajasthan Royals at home in the record chase during their first match two days back in the current edition. Now Kolkata Knight Riders at home against RR looks much more formiddable than what the record of first three editions show, and go as favorite to win again today.

2011 Performances
Without the services of fiery Watson, who was Player of the Tournament in 2008, Royals produced two emphatic wins. But inclusion of Watson wreak havoc for them as team composition went upside down, resulting in one of their worst defeat against KKR. Earlier Royals have won two away matches, thumping Delhi Daredevils and routing Deccan Chargers.
With the win pocketed in challenging conditions at Jaipur against Royals, KKR is set to repeat the feast now at Edens, their home. The Knights lost the first match again Chennai Super Kings, which they should have won, while won the close match against Deccan Chargers at home.

Player’s Performances
Kolkata Knight Riders have a mixed luck on player’s performance radar. Kallis have been the exceptional performer running for the Orange Cup race and also being the best fielder of the tournament so far. Gambhir played exceptional in the last match. Manoj Tiwary is providing consistent cameos. Their bowlers have taken 15 wickets in 3 matches. That needs improvement.
Rajasthan Royals player’s performance has been subdued so far. Except Botha who has played three undefeated innings, and the bowling trio of Trivedi, Singh and Warne there has not been much to sing about, although overall they have managed two victories. With Watson joining the squad, there may be exceptional individual performances.

History
The battle between these two IPL teams has been more in favor of the underdogs, Rajasthan Royals. Despite havng succesful Gangula, as Indian captain, at helm the stronger team lost most of the matches. Their past matches were more famous for Ganguly-Warne spat. While RR has been one-time champion, KKR has failed to reach the knockouts in last three editons. KKR may have been more popular off-field, but RR has its unique fan following being a good performer despite having lesser known players in team. Both have also played one of the two ties of IPL, that was later won by RR in SUper Over.

Head-to-Head
2008

    RR def KKR by 45 runs
    RR def KKR by 6 Wickets

2009

    RR def KKR in Super Over (After tie)
    KKR def RR by 4 Wickets

2010

    RR def KKR by 34 Runs
    KKR def RR by 8 Wickets

2011

    KKR def RR by 9 wickets

2008 Performance
On their way to championship RR won record 13 matches and lost just 3. KKR failed to impress despite 6 Wins, 7 Losses and one no result.

2009 Performance
South Africa did not suit them and they managed just 5 wins, Lost 8, and 1 was abandoned. KKR finished at the bottom with just 3 wins, 10 losses and one abandoned match.

2010 Performance
RR again failed to enter knockout and could win only 6 and Lost 8 matches. KKR had a better season with 7 Wins 7 Losses, still failed to break into knockout stage.

Overall in IPL
RR has a positive win loss ratio, making them one of the successful teams of IPL in last three editions. They have Won 26, Lost 20, and one match was abandoned. With 18 Wins, 25 Losses, 2 No Result KKR has the worst record among the IPL teams.

Who Will Win Today!
Gambhir and Kallis did not let the middle order test the waters. But, bowlers did a commendable job specially Shakib and Yusuf. With few more overs given to Yusuf, Gambhir can be able to nail the RR again, now at home.
Watson remains the key again for Royal’s fate. His inclusion and harakiri caused in the team due to it probably resulted into the loss. Or may be Warne was overconfident due to previous record against KKR, not realising that its a new rejuvenated team. One of the best captains of IPL, Warne will be up with his antics again to fight the war. With Warne’s men up for revenge, KKR may find it tough to win at home.

Key Battles
Brett Lee vs Watson/Botha
Brett Less will be keen to make his presence felt with more wickets now in his second match of current IPL. Watson on the other hand must be itching to set the record straight with a fiery performance. Botha also, was needlessly forced to change his batting position and if given a chance in the top order, his undefeated form of 3 innings can be a big threat. KKR will expect Brett Lee to tackle both of them.

Warne vs Yusuf Pathan
The protege against the disciple. Both are iconic figure in IPL, unfortunately playing against each other now, after being together for three editions. Considering KKR will lose more than one wicket, Pathan’s role will be crucial in the match. He would be raring to do the same against his ex-team, what he has done for them against other teams in last three editions. Warne, knowing, that he would be the only person who can stop the raging bull would save his best for the battle that may define the turn of the match.

Watson/Tait vs Kallis/Gambhir
Royals may realise that Tait’s absence was a huge factor in 9-wkt loss, and decide to play him. Watson can not sit on bench too. Both together can test the top order of KKR with extreme bowling. Kallis is in top-form and Gambhir showed what mettle he is made of. The battle may decide the outcome of the match.

Manoj Tiwary vs Singh & Trivedi
Considering IPL 2011 has been the tournament of Indian second string players, this can be interesting battle. Tiwary is having his best season, while Singh and Trivedi are enjoying the confidence shown by Warne and yielding results. Can the battle between Indian local players steal the limelight from the battles of major players!!

Rajasthan Royals Squad
Batsman: Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Swapnil Asnodkar, Amit Singh, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Faiz Fazal, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Pinal Shah (WK), Dishant Harendra Yagnik (WK)
Allrounder: Shane Watson, Paul Collingwood, Dinesh Salunkhe
Bowlers: Shane Warne (Captain), Shaun Tait, Stuart Binny, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Samad Fallah, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Pankaj Singh, Abhishek Raut, Siddharth Trivedi

Kolkata Knight Riders Squad
Batsman: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Brad Haddin (WK), Eoin Morgan, Manvinder Bisla, Shreevats Goswami, Laxmi Shukla, Manoj Tiwary,
Allrounder: Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan,
Bowlers: Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaidev Unadkat, Shami Ahmed, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Rajat Bhatia, Sarabjit Ladda, Iqbal Abdulla

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