The Rajasthan Royals (RR) will face off against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Both teams are coming on the back of disappointing losses and will be keen to get two points and move up the table as soon as possible.
RR were blown away by RCB's opening combination of Devudtt Padikkal and Virat Kohli. The duo made a mockery of RR's modest target of 178 to hand them a defeat by ten wickets.
KKR, on the other hand, showed great fighting spirit but were left pondering upon what would have been had their top order fired. Despite being 31-5 at one stage, KKR's lower middle-order brought them within touching distance of CSK's massive total of 220.
RR vs KKR: 3 bowlers to watch out for
Both RR and KKR will know that on a batting-friendly Wankhede pitch, picking up wickets is going to be of paramount importance. On that note, let's have a look at three bowlers who could make an impact in the RR vs KKR encounter:
#3 Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine appeared to be a welcome inclusion in the KKR line-up in their last game against CSK. Although he couldn't do much with the bat, his bowling proved to be difficult for the opposition to pick.
Narine did beat the outside edge of Faf du Plessis on multiple occasions and has given a clear indication that his new ploy to hide the ball while bowling will only increase the mystery factor.
With big scores needed at the Wankhede Stadium, RR might not have time to play out Narine's four overs and may need to attack him from the get-go. This will bring the all-rounder into play as he does have the ability to pick wickets in a heap.
KKR have not won at the Wankhede Stadium since 2012, but Narine was the man of the match the last time they got a positive result here. Thus, he will have a great idea of what line and length need to be bowled and might prove to be RR's biggest nemesis.
#2 Chetan Sakariya
From losing his younger brother to becoming an overnight sensation for RR, young Chetan Sakariya has come quite a long way. In 4 games, he has picked up six wickets and has justified his selection ahead of other young pacers like Kartik Tyagi and the experienced Jaydev Unadkat.
The Saurashtra pacer has been impressive regardless of whether he has bowled up front in the powerplay or at the death. He also has a variety of slower balls to go with a quick bouncer that is good enough to unsettle the batsmen.
Sakariya has blown hot and cold so far this season with a couple of three-wicket hauls and going wicketless in the other two. However, if he finds a bit of seam movement and settles into a perfect line and length, the youngster does have the capability to create early inroads in the KKR batting line-up.
#1 Andre Russell
Apart from having a bad day with the ball against a certain AB de Villiers, Andre Russell has been quite impressive with the ball this season. Russell already has seven wickets from four games and is KKR's highest wicket-taker.
The all-rounder has turned out to be a valuable death bowling option for skipper Eoin Morgan. His five-wicket haul against the defending champions Mumbai Indians is a great example of how Russell has the ability to deflate the opposition batting just when it is looking to explode.
The angle that Russell creates bowling from around the wicket is difficult for the right-handers to put away and that is exactly what he will try to do against RR. If Russell is successful in producing dot balls, he will surely be rewarded with wickets as batsmen simply have to go for the kill at the death.