KKR hope to revive campaign against beleaguered Royals

KKR hope to revive campaign against beleaguered Royals

Facing bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals, who have been the most inconsistent team so far in the season, KKR will be desperate for a turnaround

Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson and Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan. Credit: PTI Photo

A desperate Kolkata Knight Riders will look to get their campaign back on track after a hat-trick of defeats when they face a beleaguered Rajasthan Royals in their IPL clash on Saturday.

Big on paper, KKR, led by England's World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan, have so far failed to come together as a unit and slipped to sixth in the table after starting the tournament on a high against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Facing the bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals, who have been the most inconsistent team so far in the season, KKR will be desperate for a turnaround.

The rise of Pat Cummins as a batsman in their 18-run defeat to CSK will provide a big boost but it can't paper over the failure of their star batsmen, who have floundered while chasing even modest targets. The seamers have also leaked runs in the death overs.

ALSO READ: KKR skipper Eoin Morgan fined Rs 12 lakh for maintaining slow over-rate

Having struggled on Chepauk's slow surface, KKR had hoped to return to winning ways at the Wankhede but Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad took their attack to the cleaners and amassed a massive 220 for 3 in their previous match.

If that was not all, their famed top-five, including Shubman Gill and Morgan, surrendered inside the Powerplay.

Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik then revived the chase before Cummins produced some sensational power-hitting, slamming a 34-ball 66 not out before running out of partners as KKR finished on 202 after being 31/5 in 5.2 overs.

"Everyone's pumped," said Cummins after that effort. "I am sure if we get a win or two, we will be on our way and flying. I think there's a feeling that we can win from basically anywhere."

The other positive has been Russell's return to form. It was his 54 off 22 balls that set the tone in the last match and it would not be a bad ploy for Morgan to promote the Jamaican up the order, while Cummins is there to provide the late blitz.

The skipper will himself look to get back among the runs, while he will be equally concerned about Gill, who has repeatedly failed to convert starts and returned with a golden duck against CSK.

ALSO READ: Want to continue batting the way I love to: Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson

The Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, are coming into the match after a humiliating 10-wicket loss against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Sanju Samson's men have failed to inspire since posting their only win of the tournament, which was against the Delhi Capitals in their second match.

Samson has fizzled out after a blazing 119 against the Punjab Kings and the top and middle-order look brittle with Jos Buttler, Manan Vohra and David Miller battling inconsistency and some poor form.

Bowling is also a big concern for the inaugural edition champions as their big buy Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman have struggled to check the flow of runs.

They also have limited overseas options with Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes ruled out of the season due to injuries, while Liam Livingstone quit the tournament due to bio-bubble fatigue.

The squads:

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain & wicketkeeper), Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Riyan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav and Akash Singh.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi and Gurkeerat Singh Mann.

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