Rajasthan Royals are coming off two big victories. First, they beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by 8 wickets courtesy of a match winning hundred from Ben stokes. Then they put a breaks on Kings XI Punjab’s winning streak by beating them by 7 wickets courtesy of some solid batting once again led by Ben Stokes’ quick fire 50. Tonight, however, they are playing in Dubai, where they have won just one out of the four games they have played here so far and their stakes are high.
A huge win tonight over Kolkata Knight Riders, may not see them qualifying for the playoffs unless other results go their way. KKR are on the same boat as RR. They need to win by a huge margin as well. Both teams have the same number of points and their Net Run Rate is not looking good. Double trouble. Both teams will be paying attention to the CSK-KXIP match to find out the margin of runs/overs they need to win in order to go above KXIP in NRR.
Kolkata are a disappointing season. Leadership changes hasn't worked out for them. Their only convincing win was against Delhi Capitals where they won by 59 runs. Their batsmen have been inconsistent. Nitish Rana's last four IPL scores are 0 (vs RCB), 81 (vs DC), 0 (vs KXIP) and 87 (vs CSK). Tonight however, the Knight Riders would want Rana to come good as everything is on the line. KKR’s bowling has either looked real good or quite ordinary but tonight, it is key that their bowling comes good. Varun Chakravarthy will be key in the middle overs for KKR.
Rajasthan's season hasn't been too good either. The started their campaign well with back to back wins but then lost momentum in the middle and struggles with both bat and bowl. Jofra Archer has been their only consistent performer this season. Unlike KKR, RR has formed momentum in the last couple of matches. Momentum is a key term in the T20 format. Their batting has looked solid in the last two games. They will want the same tonight.
Both teams need a win to get a shot at making it to the playoffs. One team will be exiting this IPL season along with CSK tonight. However, if CSK wins their last game tonight, then three teams (CSK, KXIP and the loser of KKR-RR match) will be departing from this season’s IPL. What a tournament it has been. RR and KKR not be unlikely to make any changes especially at this juncture. A must watch however as two teams battle for survival.