The contest between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajsthan Royals created more interest than any other match when Ganguly was at helm, as the international battle between him and Warne was seen alive. Now, with the revamped team Gambhir-led KKR has two most expensive players of IPL, whereas RR can only boast of their retained players.
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.
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
Without the services of fiery Watson, who was Player of the Tournament in 2008, Royals have produced two emphatic wins. They drubbed their prey Deccan Chargers easily and then went on to thump Delhi Daredevils.
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.
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.
RR has a positive win loss ratio, making them one of the successful teams of IPL in last three editions. They have Won 24, Lost 19, and one match was abandoned. With 16 Wins, 24 Losses, 2 No Result KKR has the worst record among the IPL teams.
With Rajasthan, the bowlers, specially the Indian pace bowling duo of Siddharth Trivedi and Amit Singh are shining. Besides that Johan Botha is enjoying his unbeaten streak at number 3. Dravid appears composed and Warne magic is still producing good results.
For KKR, batsmen are yet to fire. Kallis is again playing an ideal IPL season. Manoj Tiwary and Bisla showed some fire. Captain Gambhir must find his form. Yusuf Pathan is struggling. Bowlers have not shown much promise so far. Yet, with Ryan ten still not tested, and amuunitions refilling in the form of in-form Brad Haddin and Brett Lee, the team may have renewed energy level. Watson-Gambhir spat can be renewed when KKR and RR play in 2011 edition.
Brett Lee vs Dravid/Watson/Botha
Brett Less is set to play as KKR needs wicket-taking bowlers on top. With Watson also set to join the playing XI, how the trio of Dravid, Watson and Botha perform against in-form Brett Lee may be the game changing moment.
Watson vs Yusuf Pathan
So far, they were brothers in destruction. Now, they are opponents and both will like to ascertain supremacy. Watson has rocked Bangaldeshis and created all sorts of batting record, but IPL belongs to Yusuf Pathan too. Both can devastate with bat, as well as help their teams with useful bowling. The duo between them can be the deciding phase of the match.
Warne vs Gambhir
Gambhir is knocn as one of the finest player of spin. Warne is the magician. The contest of bat and ball between these two would be the key moment of match. If Haddin and Kallis can provide good opening partnership, Gambhir may feel free to treat Warne with disdain. Warne on the other hand is running high on economic bowling and may again be successful in drying the runs of Gambhir’s blade as well as against other KKR batsmen.
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