The Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 18th match of the Vivo IPL 2021 on Saturday, 24th April, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It will be the penultimate game at the ground this season, with the afternoon match in Sunday's doubleheader being the last.
Both teams will desperately be looking for a win after a poor start to their campaign. Both RR and KKR have won just one of their four games, with RR coming off a thrashing by RCB, while KKR endured a close defeat against CSK.
RR's injury crisis has left their squad reeling, with as many as five uncapped players taking the field for them against RCB. Their batting order looks weak, with the added pressure on Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson not helping the team's cause. While the Indian batters in the RR middle order have stepped up, it's too much of an ask to expect them to do the bulk of the scoring in every game.
David Miller, Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler need to step up and deliver with the bat. RR also need to get a strike bowler like Andrew Tye into their XI, as they have struggled to pick up wickets.
RR have an advantage over KKR, as they've played all four of their games at the Wankhede. However, Buttler should ensure RR don't lose too many wickets in the powerplay, while Chris Morris should help pick up some early wickets with the ball.
KKR, meanwhile, struggled to pick up wickets with the ball against CSK and were left chasing a score that prove to be a bit too much in the end. After a spectacular collapse during their run chase, Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik joined hands with KKR at 31/5 in 5.2 overs.
What followed next was some brutal hitting from Russell, who looked to have regained his destructive edge. The sixth-wicket partnership gave KKR a lot of hope, but a freak dismissal meant Russell walked back after smashing a 22-ball 54. With the game getting away from KKR, Pat Cummins seized control and hit Sam Curran for 30 runs in the 16th over.
While they lost wickets and got bowled out for 202 in 19.1 overs, 19 runs short of their target, KKR will like the fighting spirit they showed to make it a match from a losing position.
They do, however, have a lot of gaping holes in their roster. Their pacers were very ineffective against CSK, so bringing in someone like Lockie Ferguson may not be a bad idea. Shubman Gill also needs to step up and deliver at the top, and captain Eoin Morgan as well.
With a win instrumental in resurrecting their respective campaigns, both teams will look to fight tooth and nail in this match, which means a cracking contest could ensue at the Wankhede.
IPL 2021: RR vs KKR Match Details
Date: 24th April 2021 (Saturday).
Time: 7:30 PM IST.
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
It should be a warm and cloudy day in Mumbai, with an average temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius. Dew should play a role in the second innings of the match.
The wicket at the Wankhede Stadium has favoured batsmen, a trend that could continue in this game as well. So the captain winning the toss should have no qualms to chase.
Rajasthan Royals (RR)
RR should bring Yashasvi Jaiswal into their playing XI after a string of failures for Manan Vohra.
Jaydev Unadkat, who performed well in his first two games, should return to the side too. Andrew Tye could get a look-in in place of Mustafizur Rahman, given the Australian's death-bowling prowess.
RR: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (C/WK), David Miller, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Jaydev Unadkat, Mustafizur Rahman/ Andrew Tye and Chetan Sakariya.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
KKR should bat better at the top, with the power of their middle order on display against CSK. Sunil Narine could get another game, but they could also consider Lockie Ferguson.
KKR: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine/ Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti/ Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna.
IPL 2021: RR vs KKR Match Prediction
Of the two teams, KKR look the stronger side on paper. They have performed much better than the Royals, despite being level with them on points. Given the firepower in their batting lineup, KKR should get the two points in this encounter.
Prediction: KKR to win.
IPL 2021: RR vs KKR TV and Live Streaming Details
TV: Star Sports Network.
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP.