Focus on Rinku Singh and the spinners against RR at Eden Gardens

I said, “Arre sir, saral saral pooch lena.”

On the eve of the game, Rinku Singh jokingly asked the reporters to ask him simple questions as he already knew the answers. The Eden Gardens audience knew it when they chanted “Rinku! Rinku!” during a close game versus Punjab Kings. In the same game, Andre Russell ran a potential bye off the penultimate delivery and trusted Rinku to complete the task since he knew it. Naturally, Kolkata Knight Riders have been aware of that even since hiring him in 2017.

When KKR hosts Rajasthan Royals, Rinku Singh will once again be in the spotlight. He will remember playing them with fondness. He received his maiden Player-of-the-Match award in the IPL for his game-winning innings of 42* off 23 against RR last season. This game also marked a turning point in his career at KKR, making him one of their main players. Since then, Rinku has not missed a single game for KKR.

While KKR enters this match with three victories in their last four games, RR’s recent form has been disconcerting, as they have dropped five of their last six games. You can tell how exceptional their season-opening performance was by the fact that they are still listed above KKR on the points standings.

It wouldn’t be simple for RR in the Eden Gardens, where the host team finally appeared to have discovered the winning recipe after a difficult start, to get their campaign back on track. Part of it can be attributed to the slightly dry pitch that KKR played on versus PBKS, which increased the role of their spinners without really affecting the batting. The same pitch, which saw spinners pick 8/142 as opposed to seamers’ 3/211, will be used for this match as well and is likely to favor KKR once more. However, RR comes prepared with two of India’s top spinners and a batting order that would be content with the available bounce.

One club is poised to emerge from the 10-pointer gridlock in the middle of the table as both teams compete in their third-to-last league game of the season. It’s difficult to predict who that will be, though, and Rinku Singh may not yet know the answer to that question.

When: May 11, 2023, 7:30 p.m. local time, KKR vs. RR

Where: Kolkata’s Eden Gardens

What to expect: The match will take place on pitch #4, just as it did last night, marking the fourth IPL match to be played there this year.

A deep depression that Cyclone Mocha caused in the Bay of Bengal prevented teams from practicing because of the overcast circumstances 24 hours prior to the match. But since the pitch wasn’t watered much again, the slower bowlers will likely have more to work with this time around. Again, the uneven ground measurements on both sides (58 and 71 meters) are anticipated to have a significant impact on match strategy.

There won’t be much dew, but chasing teams have won the last two matches there. Sanju Samson will have a difficult choice to make at the toss because RR has only had success chasing in one of their four games this year. Although no rain is anticipated throughout the game, considering the nearby cyclonic conditions, this could change soon. On the night before the game, in anticipation of nocturnal rain, groundskeepers covered the whole playing field.

Team surveillance

Kolkata Knight Riders

Umesh Yadav, who has missed the last three games due to a slight left hamstring ailment, bowled with a complete run-up on the eve of the match. He was spotted bowling to Rinku Singh on the center practice wicket among other first-choice bowlers Varun Chakaravarthy, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Harshit Rana, with Vaibhav Arora absent. What that could signify is anyone’s guess, but aside from that probable adjustment, KKR is unlikely to meddle with a winning combo.

Tactics & Matchups: Nitish Rana has been one of the greatest spinners in recent IPL seasons, but he appears to struggle against Yuzvendra Chahal, who has dismissed him five times in the past. This pivotal clash will be critical for both sides aiming to secure a significant victory. However, KKR has an ace in Sunil Narine against the opposition captain Sanju Samson, who has been out to the spinner three times and has a strike rate of 82 against him.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (w), Jason Roy, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Vaibhav Arora/Umesh Yadav, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakaravarthy are among the possible lineups. Suyash Sharma is an impact player.

Rajasthan Royals

Trent Boult missed the previous game due to a niggle, but he should be able to play in this one right away. On this track, anticipate them to play three spinners as well.

RR has been one of the weakest teams this season in the middle overs, losing up to 32 wickets for only 749 runs from overs 7–15. Shimron Hetmyer’s slump, in which the batter has scored just 25 runs in his last six innings, has a lot to do with this. The match’s outcome may depend on how he and the other middle-order batsmen perform against KKR’s three-pronged spin attack.

Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (w/c), Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Sharma, and Yuzvendra Chahal make up the probable XI. Riyan Parag is the impact player.

Did you realize?

– Yuzvendra Chahal is one wicket away from breaking the record for most IPL wickets taken.

– Trent Boult and Jason Roy’s T20 matchup: 25 balls, 34 runs, and 2 dismissals.

– Right arm leg-spin accounts for four of Andre Russell’s eight dismissals so far this season.


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