Both Rajasthan and Kolkata will be looking to register their first win in four games when they clash at the Wankhede Stadium on April 24, Saturday. While Rajasthan currently sit at the bottom of the table with two points, Team Kolkata are sixth by virtue of a superior net run rate.
On Thursday, Team Bangalore rode on brilliant displays by Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli to inflict this season’s heaviest defeat on Rajasthan, as Sanju Samson and Co. were beaten by 10 wickets.
Kolkata, on the other hand, had a heartbreak against Chennai after valiant efforts by Andre Russell and Pat Cummins fell short by 18 runs, with the two-time champions succumbing to their third consecutive defeat in Indian T20 League 2021.
Rajasthan vs Kolkata probable playing XI
Team Rajasthan management will take a hard look at the mirror after their heavy loss against Bangalore on Thursday. Unlike Kolkata, who has just arrived at Wankhede from Chepauk, this was Rajasthan’s fourth match in Mumbai and their playing XI has blown hot and cold so far. They are unlikely to make any changes given that this was the team that defeated Delhi and almost snatched an unlikely win out of Punjab’s jaws.
Kolkata had brought in Sunil Narine to replace Shakib-Al-Hasan against Chennai and that didn’t backfire as the West Indian was their second most economical bowler with figures of 1/34. While Narine is likely to stay in the playing XI against Rajasthan as well, Kolkata should get in the vastly experienced Harbhajan Singh to replace Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
Rajasthan predicted XI: Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Manan Vohra, Sanju Samson, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman
Kolkata predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Kartik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Rajasthan vs Kolkata prediction: Who will win?
It will be an interesting match-up between two teams, who have contradictory records. While Team Kolkata lead Rajasthan 15-11 in the overall head-to-head, the two-time champions have really struggled to make a mark at the Wankhede Stadium in the tournament history.
Kolkata have won just once in their 10 matches in Mumbai, while Rajasthan have won five of their 12 matches at the same venue. While both the teams have an equal chance of winning the game, Kolkata do have a better side on paper and will have a psychological advantage against Rajasthan.
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Top Tip: Best Batsmen
Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson will have a great chance to get back his form against Kolkata, given his past record against them. Samson has tallied 334 runs against Kolkata with two half-centuries to his name as well.
For Kolkata, Dinesh Karthik will look to extend his new found form against one of his favourite opponents. The former Kolkata skipper has 519 runs against Rajasthan with an average of 32.43. He has also hit three half-centuries against Rajasthan.
Top Tip: Best Bowlers
Rajasthan's bowling all-rounder Chris Morris remains the biggest threat for Kolkata going into this match. The South African has taken 15 Kolkata wickets in his 12 encounters with them at an impressive striker rate of 17.6.
For Kolkata, Shakib Al Hasan remains the best bowler with 12 Rajasthan wickets to his name so far. However, with his playing chances looking low, Harbhajan Singh remains Eoin Morgan's best bet. Bhajji has 11 wickets against Rajasthan in 13 matches.
Top Tip: All-rounder and Wicket-keeper
As far as all-rounders are concerned, Kolkata triumph quite a few teams in the league with the presence of Andre Russell and Pat Cummins. Both the players scored lightning-quick fifties against Chennai to get the team close to a mammoth target in the last match. The duo also boasts of 11 wickets between them so far this season and are far more impactful than Rajasthan’s Chris Morris and Rahul Tewatia.
With an inexperienced Sanju Samson standing behind the stumps for Rajasthan, Kolkata’s Dinesh Karthik automatically becomes the favourite in that position. The former Kolkata captain is only behind MS Dhoni in wicket-keeping records in the Indian T20 League and has one of the safest pair of hands as well.
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Featured Image: AFP/ Dibyangshu Sarkar