IPL 2018 is at its ending stages, with just the Eliminator, Qualifier 2 and the Final to be played. While the loser from Chennai and Hyderabad would get a second bite of the cherry in Qualifier 2, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals won’t be given the same luxury. They finished 3rd and 4th respectively on the points table and they face off in the Eliminator, for chance to play in a virtual semi final game in Qualifier 2.
When you ask yourself which of these two sides have made more of an impact in IPL 2018, Kolkata is the automatic answer that will pop into your head. Look at their line ups on paper and Kolkata is a much stronger and much more balanced side, while Rajasthan don’t have those x-factor match winners in their squad. They have Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler who were match winners but both have flown back to England to be a part of the test squad to play Pakistan.
Head to Head
Chennai beat Hyderabad in both league games in this season of the Indian Premier League, and we saw an immediate dominance from CSK in Qualifier 1. Similarly, Kolkata have beaten Rajasthan in both their league matches this season and that has to be a huge indicator of who is favourite for this game, especially since RR will be without 2 main overseas players. KKR won the first game by 7 wickets and the second game by 6 wickets, so RR would like to test their opponents by putting them in to bat first.
- Overall IPL head to head: Kolkata 9-5 Rajasthan.
Now Rajasthan Royals was a team to beat in IPL 2018 when Buttler had five consecutive scores but they’re not left with a lot of quality overseas options. In the last game, they went in with three overseas bowling options in Ben Laughlin, Jofra Archer and Ish Sodhi. I wouldn’t mind that move honestly, except for the fact that Rajasthan don’t have the strongest batting orders in the league. Samson started this season hitting the ball brilliantly but has lost a bit of touch along the season.
Heinrich Klaasen is one person on whom will rest a lot of responsibilities. He hasn’t been given too many chances in the season so far but when he was thrown into the mix in the last game, he scored a handy 32 and his contributions could be vital in this eliminator. Captain Ajinkya Rahane also needs to step up in this vital game, as he has been getting starts and nothing more. One good sign is the fluency with which Rahul Tripathi batted in the last game, reminding us of the Tripathi of IPL 2017.
- Dinesh Karthik (KKR) – 438 runs
- Sanju Samson (RR) – 391 runs
- Sunil Narine (KKR) – 16 wickets
- Jofra Archer (RR) – 13 wickets
I’m gunning for Kolkata Knight Riders, as they know how to deal with the pressures of big games, having won the IPL title twice in the past. It all seems to be a very one sided contest, just as I believed the CSK vs SRH one would be but we all know how tight that one was, going all the way down to the wire. Kolkata should breeze past Rajasthan in this game, and then prepare for their encounter against Sunrisers in Qualifier 2.