When Kolkata Knigt Riders went to Jaipur to play at the early stage of current edition Rahul Dravid did not play any spinner, instead bombarded them with pace on a pitch that supports fast bowlers. His reason was simple, why to waste spin on a team that has lot of good players of spin. The strategy worked like a magic wand. But at Kolkata that strategy may backfire on a track that is customised to suit Narine, as if his four overs would be the only deciding factor. The track is not new for Dravid, but Rajasthan Roylas have many uncapped and foreigner players. How will he tackle Gambhir now? Or Will Gambhir be able to finally win 4th match of the season?
KKR is just a loss away from joining Pune Warriors on the bench fixed for teams who are no more in the race for the top four spots in the 2013 edition. To summarise the pathetic situation of KKR it would not be wrong to say that the Captain and the players are just somehow going through the motion to complete their journey. There is no improvement despite the Captain pointing out on areas of improvement after every defeat, 7 of them now overall.
They have played one of the two ties recorded in IPL history. Considering the talent and money factor, KKR has a lot, while RR is relying on sheer extraordinary performances from a pool of young talented guns. The model turned successful in 2008, but since then they have been more often not so good.
Head-to-Head RR 6-6 KKR
RR def KKR by 45 runs
RR def KKR by 6 Wickets
RR def KKR in Super Over (After tie)
KKR def RR by 4 Wickets
RR def KKR by 34 Runs
KKR def RR by 8 Wickets
- RR won by 19 runs, MOM: Siddharth Trivedi
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.
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.
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.
KKR reached the semifinal for the first time winning 8 and losing 7. RR on the other hand could finish 6th with 6 wins and 7 losses.
RR could finish 7th with 7 wins and 9 losses, while KKR went on to win the tournament with 12 wins, 5 losses and 1 No result against Deccan Chargers.
Overall in IPL
Both have won the tournament once each, but KKR has reached the knockouts twice. Still RR has a better win loss ratio, making them the fourth most successful teams of IPL. They have Won 44, Lost 37, and two matches were abandoned, one each against RCB (2011) and MI (2009). KKR on the other hand has 39 Wins, 42 Losses, 3 No Result, one each against DD (2008), CSK (2009) and DC (2012). KKR has the second worst record among the IPL teams.
The worst apparent problem in KKR is that instead of any sign of improvement, even the Captain is running paranoid using discouraging tendency even on-field towards his team members. That tells how the team is no more playing as a unit. Probably because there are players who are selected despite not performing continuously creating an atmosphere of Indian Cricket Team. That is bound to anger those who are rested or not at all tested.
Rajasthan Royals captain Dravid has probably a team with good team environment. From Watson to Hodge to local players everyone is praising Dravid and readily accepting the shuffling in their position or even role match by match, and no wonder the team has 6 wins to show in 9 matches.
Although the KKR pitch would again help spinners and Narine, alongwith Senanayake would trouble any batsmen, but like CSK did even RR has the arsenal to tackle the turn. They also have some of the good spinners to extract the best out of the pitch. But instead of team performance comparison (KKR Team vs RR Team) or their match results comparison (RR Results vs KKR Results), just because of better proven captaincy and good team environment, Rajasthan Royals is the clear favorite to win this match.