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Struggling RR, KKR in crucial clash (Preview: Match 18)

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Mumbai, April 23 (IANS) Beleaguered Rajasthan Royals (RR), who are stuck at the bottom of the points table, will face Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night.

While RR have managed just one win in four matches and have the worst net run rate among all teams, their opponents KKR too have been finding the going tough. They also have one win in four games but are ahead of both RR and Punjab Kings on net run rate.

KKR’s net run rate could, however, have been poorer had their lower order not clicked in the last match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

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The batting performance of Andre Russell and Pat Cummins would have given KKR a lot of confidence ahead of their match against RR.

Cummins on Thursday had said that the fightback against CSK, that saw KKR recover from 31/5 to reach 202 i.e. 18 runs short of CSK total, has given the team the belief that they can come back from any position.

If KKR’s top-order batting clicks as well, then RR bowling will find it really difficult.

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The Sanju Samson-led side is coming off a very poor outing against RCB on Thursday night. Although RR managed to put up a strong 177-run total, the performance of the bowlers was insipid as they couldn’t pick a single wicket allowing Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli to share an unbeaten 181-run partnership and win the match by 10 wickets.

RR are missing key England players, all-rounder Ben Stokes and pace bowler Jofra Archer who both have returned home due to injury.

In their absence, the onus has been on Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman to perform.

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Prior to the last game, batting all-rounder Liam Livingstone also left the RR camp and departed for England citing bubble fatigue.

The only good thing for RR in Thursday’s 10-wicket loss to RR was the runs uncapped Indian batsmen scored.

Squads:

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

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

–IANS

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