Kolkata: All eyes will be a battle on survival when Dinesh Karthik-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) host Ajinkya Rahane’s Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday.
While KKR were pinned as one of the favourites to win the title, RR, returning to the tournament after two years, started as underdogs.
There will be a lot of players to keep an eye on, including stalwarts like Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn, whereas players like Krishnappa Gowtham (RR) can also spring a surprise.
Ahead of the all-important match, we look at the key player battles to watch out for.
Sunil Narine vs Sanju Samson:
A duel between a high-flying Sunil Narine and an unpredictable Sanju Samson will be one of the main player battles to watch out in the crucial match. While Narine is KKR’s leading wicket-taker (16 wickets), Samson is RR’s second-highest run getter ( 391 runs), behind England’s Jos Buttler, who has already flown back to play in the Tests against Pakistan.
Interestingly, one of Narine’s 16 wickets were that of Samson himself, when he was dismissed during their encounter at this very ground on May 15.
Chris Lynn vs Jofra Archer
Australia’s Chris Lynn has enjoyed a successful run in this year’s Indian Premier League, considering that he was coming to the tournament from a should injury.
Having amassed 425 runs in 14 matches, he is KKR’s second leading run-getter, behind captain Dinesh Karthik (438).
Jofra Archer’s style of play, meanwhile, seems like he is already an experienced IPL campaigner. However, this Archer’s debut season in the cash-rich league and he has already scalped 13 wickets from the nine games he has played.
Along with Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni, Archer was expected to give it his best, and it is fair to say that he has lived up to the expectations.
Dinesh Karthik vs Ajinkya Rahane
The battle of captains. That is on of the reason why IPL rivalries have been very fierce over the years. While Karthik has been known for his finishing abilities throughout the season, Ajinkya Rahane has been showing signs of improvement in his form despite just one half-century all season.
All in all, the eliminator could be the perfect platform for Rahane to get a breakthrough and get back to his form.