Eliminator: Key player for KKR and RR
Determining the key forces from each of the teams that will meet for Qualifier 2 to make it to the finals.
After six weeks of excitement, entertainment and an endeavour to win the IPL trophy, Indian premier league has reached into the last phase of the eleventh edition. This year's league stage witnessed some of the most thrilling matches and last minute nail-biters. The last team to qualify, Rajasthan Royals, made it to the playoffs only after the conclusion of the last match of the league stage.
Kolkata Knight Riders, who qualified with 16 points and finished at the third position in the league stage, will play against the 4th positioned Rajasthan Royals, who found themselves lucky to have qualified with 14 points. The two teams will face each other in the eliminator at the Eden Gardens Stadium on 23rd of May.
Here, we look at the key player for both the teams.
For Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine has impressed everyone in this season of IPL so far. Not only did he contributed with his bowling, but also allow his bat to speak volumes about the talent that this young lad beholds.
Batting up the order with his brutal opening partner, Chriss Lynn, Narine frustrated the bowlers throughout the season. The Caribbean has scored 327 runs in 14 matches he has played in far and achieved this feat with a strike rate of whopping 189. Opening the batting for KKR, Narine has two fifties to his name with the highest score of 75.
His batting has been one of the gems of this year's IPL. He starts attacking from the very first delivery that he faces, making full utilization of the fielding restrictions. The Knight Riders camp do not expect Narine to play the whole innings, but to give them a powerful start dominating the powerplay. Narine seems to be playing his role well with the bat.
With the ball, Sunil Narine has dismissed 16 players in 14 matches and has an economy of under 8. In an event Narine fails at top of the order with the bat, he still can create an impact with the ball. For KKR to make it into the Qualifier 2, Sunil Narine has to play his role well.
For Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane
It might surprise many that Ajinkya Rahane will be the player to look out for, especially following a not so impressive form he has displayed. Rajasthan Royals, who managed to find a place in the playoffs by a close margin, would expect their skipper to take them into the Qualifier 2.
Till now, Ajinkya Rahane has failed to impress in the league. The skipper, who once proved to be the pillar of Rajasthan Royals has managed to score only 324 runs in the 14 league stage matches he has played with a poor average of 27. Rahane, who has just one fifty in this year's IPL will hope to change his form soon.
With Buttler and Stokes not being a part of Rajasthan Royals for their remaining campaign, the Royals has already lost their key players before the eliminator. Sanju Samson, who also failed to impress in pressure games and the inexperience of Rahul Tripathi at the top of the order will make RR depend on Rahane to stick to the crease and make it count.
Ajinkya Rahane is the only Royal in the current team who has not struggled against Narine, scoring 59 runs off 44 balls he faced against Narine.
Rajasthan Royals has a poor record against KKR at the Eden Gardens, where RR has managed to win just one match. For Rajasthan Royals to repeat the victory of 2008, Ajinkya Rahane has to lead the team with an example.