Kolkata and Rajasthan battle with their season on the line
Kolkata and Rajasthan will go head-to-head in both teams' final match of the season, as the two will fight for their playoff lives in Sunday's encounter.
Both teams are level on points at 12 but will need a mathematical miracle to stay alive in the competition. However, before they pray for results elsewhere to go their way, both teams need a win to get to 14 points and keep themselves in contention.
Here are the key facts from the contest:
Can Narine stifle Samson?
Sanju Samson is the definition of bipolar. On his day, the talented batsman can single-handedly massacre a bowling unit but most days, Samson will play a loose shot and hit the showers early.
While Samson has been hot and cold throughout his career, his battle against Kolkata’s Sunil Narine has only gone one way and it is the West Indian's.
In nine matches against Narine, Samson has scored just 36 runs in 45 balls and has been dismissed by the veteran spinner. Given his recent form, Kolkata would be wary of Samson but they have the perfect weapon in their arsenal to neutralize his threat.
Players to watch out for:
Kolkata – Varun Chakravarty
While Sunil Narine and Pat Cummins were expected to be Kolkata’s aces with the ball, it has mystery spinner Varun Chakravarty that has done the damage with the ball for his side. The 29-year-old has picked 15 wickets this season at a good economy rate of 7.27 and his form of late has been absolutely stellar. Chakravarty has picked nine wickets in his last five matches and Kolkata will be hopeful that he can be the difference-maker in their last match of the season.
Rajasthan – Ben Stokes
Opening the innings has done wonders for Ben Stokes. The Englishman scored an unbeaten century against table-toppers Mumbai, guiding his side to victory and then followed that up with a sensational half-century against Punjab that helped set the team’s tempo with the bat. In addition to his 50, Stokes also picked up a couple of wickets after finally being cleared to bowl by the team’s medical staff. Rajasthan will be looking towards their talisman to guide them to a win and keep their season alive.
Stats to watch out for
3: Rajasthan's Shreyas Gopal needs three wickets to complete 50 wickets in the Indian T20 League.
5: While Rajasthan have won five games out of six while chasing, Kolkata have won five out of six batting first.
38: In-form Kolkata batsman Nitish Rana needs 38 runs to complete 2,500 runs in T20s.
50: This will be Steve Smith’s 50th match for Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League.
80: Dinesh Karthik needs 80 runs to complete 1000 runs in the league for Kolkata.
Rajasthan are coming into this contest on the back of two successive wins against two of the most in-form sides in the league. Kolkata on the other hand suffered, what seems to be, a season-ending loss against the worst team in the league. It's Rajasthan for the win in this contest.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar