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KKR, RR face off in battle for survival

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
By Tapan Mohanta

Kolkata: A buoyant Kolkata Knight Riders will lock horns with a charged up Rajasthan Royals in a battle for survival at the Indian Premier League T20 tournament here today.

Their fate hanging in balance, a loss in the penultimate league round match may virtually sound the death knell for one of the two teams. It's a mad scramble for the two available play-off berths with five teams including KKR and RR, who are tied on 12 points, remaining in the hunt.

To make the competition stiffer, both the teams have picked up late momentum in the business end of the tournament. Down after back-to-back defeats, KKR bounced back with a bang, posting the fourth highest total of the IPL -- 245/6 -- to down Kings XI Punjab by 31 runs in their last match.

From being on the verge of elimination, RR too have returned to the reckoning with a hat-trick of wins, thanks to the imperious form shown by Jos Buttler who was adjudged man-of-the-match in all the three victories.

The RR opener struck an unbeaten 94 to seal an easy seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians last night. This was the English wicketkeeper-batsman's fifth consecutive half-century -- an IPL record jointly held with Virender Sehwag.

His scores in the last five innings read 67, 51, 82, 95*, 94* and Buttler along with allrounder Ben Stokes, who has played in different positions in the batting order, will be the two major threats for KKR.

Half of their battle will be won if the Dinesh Karthik-led side can dismiss the English duo cheaply. The skipper will look to go all out with their spin attack to exploit their weakness.

That skipper Ajinkya Rahane is in the middle of a lean patch will augur well for the KKR team who will look to conclude their last home match of the round robin league on a high.

With the Eden Gardens slated to host Eliminator and Playoff Two, KKR may have a chance to play again at home if they can finish at third or fouth position in the IPL table. Rahane has 280 runs from 12 innings with a woeful average of 28.00 and it's high time that he returns among runs to give their batting a stability.
 

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