IPL 2019: Rajasthan Royals probable playing XI against Kolkata Knight Riders

Every game from here will be a do or die game for RR
Every game from here will be a do or die game for RR
Vaibhav Joshi

Until this point in the IPL, the Rajasthan Royals have struggled to pack their cards together and have been able to win just three of the ten matches they have played thus far.

The story was pretty much the same in their previous game against the Delhi Capitals. Despite making an excellent start, the Royals failed to finish on the winning side. Thus, with only four games to go, every clash from this point will be a do or die game for RR.

The Steve Smith-led side will be facing the Kolkata Knight Riders next on the 25th of April at the picturesque Eden Gardens. The game will be a must-win encounter for both teams, especially RR, who are currently in the second-last spot in the points table.

It will be interesting to see what changes Rajasthan will be making to their playing XI for the game against Kolkata. Thus, let us look at the probable playing XI for Rajasthan Royals for their upcoming game against KKR.

Ajinkya Rahane, who had to let go of the captaincy recently, has struck form at the right time as he smashed a fantastic hundred against the Delhi Capitals. Thus, the experienced campaigner will unquestionably prove to be a vital cog for the Royals in the coming game against KKR at the iconic Eden Gardens in what is expected to be a batsman's paradise.

Sanju Samson (WK), a right-handed prodigy from Kerala, has undoubtedly been one of the best batsmen for the Royals this season. Samson had to face an unfortunate run-out in the previous game against Delhi. Nevertheless, the young batsman would be looking forward to covering that up with a match-winning performance in the upcoming clash against KKR.

Steve Smith (C), the skipper of Rajasthan Royals, had a not so good start to IPL 2019. However, as time passed, Smith showed his true colours by scoring heavily for the Royals. And much so, the Australian batsman will expect himself to play on the same lines in the upcoming encounter as well. With no experienced player available in the middle-order, the onus will be on Smith to help Rajasthan.

Having scored just 141 runs from eight games, Rahul Tripathi hasn't had a satisfactory IPL thus far. However, with a purpose to stabilize their middle-order, Royals would be fielding Tripathi in place of Ashton Turner in the playing XI.

Ben Stokes, the costliest RR player, hasn't been able to play many match-winning performances for his franchise. Stokes has looked a bit off guard which has largely affected Rajasthan in this year's IPL. However, Royals, considering Stokes' reputation as an all-rounder, will be fielding him in the playing XI against KKR which is envisioned to be the Englishman's last IPL game this year.

Riyan Parag, the 17-year-old batting all-rounder from Assam, has turned out to be a worthy addition for the Royals in the past few games. Although Parag hasn't got loads of chances in this year's IPL, he has made generous contributions with both the bat and the ball. Thus, with the tournament moving into its most crucial stage, Royals will expect a lot more from the youngster in the approaching games.

Stuart Binny, a quality all-round option, had to warm the bench until the game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Nonetheless, ever since the addition of Binny, Royals look much more balanced, pending the fact that he brings an able option with the bat as well as the ball. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that Binny will lose his place in the playing XI for the match against KKR.

Shreyas Gopal has been the star performer for the Royals with the ball. With deceiving variations in his bank, Gopal currently stands as the highest wicket-taker for RR in the ongoing edition of the IPL. Hence, being in a healthy frame of mind, the leg-break bowler will hope to put his best foot forward in the following clash against Kolkata.

Jofra Archer, a fast bowling prospect, has undeniably been the best paceman at the RR camps for past two seasons. With 11 wickets up his sleeve, Archer is the second-highest wicket-taker for the Royals this season. And he will hope to continue the carry forward the same kind of performance at the Eden Gardens as well.

Oshane Thomas, a young paceman from West Indies, is expected to make his IPL debut in the coming game against Kolkata. Stokes and Archer will soon be flying back to England in a bid to prepare for the series against Pakistan which will leave a big void in RR's fast bowling department.

Thus, to cover that up, Royals will be moving to Thomas for the remainder of IPL. Hence, the match against Kolkata will hand Royals a good chance to test the bowling dynamics of Oshane on the Indian pitches.

Jaydev Undakat has had a forgetful IPL thus far. The Saurashtra pacer hasn't been able to deliver the goods for RR this season and has only performed in patches. Nevertheless, Royals will be extending their support to Unadkat and will be expecting a much-improved display in the upcoming encounter in Kolkata.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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