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ELIMINATOR IPL 2018: Momentum and form holds KKR in good stead

Kolkata Knight Riders will lock horns with Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator match of VIVO IPL 2018. Moving into the playoffs, KKR carries the momentum, a settled playing XI, and a good track record against their opponents on the day.

Another added advantage for the Knights will be playing at Eden Gardens, even though it’s a neutral venue on paper, the crowd will be chanting for the men in Purple & Gold.

Confident KKR in their own backyard
It took 14 games for KKR to find their best playing XI. Right at the end of the league stages, skipper Dinesh Karthik and his team registered three wins in as many matches to become the third team to qualify for the playoffs.

Stakes are high for KKR as it was the case in last three matches for us, but this time we are clear favourites to win considering our form and RR missing out on their key foreign players.

There is always something for the spinners at the Eden Garden’s wicket. DK might want to  go with three spinners or could even bring Mavi back in the playing XI, as he can certainly trouble the batsmen with his pace. Big calls to make for DK with KKR aiming for a 3rd IPL title. 

RR - A Good Return to the IPL
Rajasthan Royals became the last team to qualify for the playoffs. Despite playing their last match on Saturday, May19, their fate was sealed three matches later, with the loss of MI & KXIP on the final day of the league games of VIVO IPL 2018.

Replacing Jos Buttler, Heinrich Klaasen (32 runs off 21 balls) did a wonderful job against RCB. His 3 stumpings and a catch behind the wickets were pure gold to end RCB’s campaign and keep the team in the groove of making it to the last four. Ben Stokes all round services will also be missed. All the odds are against them. But it’s cricket and we are playing IPL. All that matters is a few good overs, a few crucial wickets to change the fortune.

History:
It’s straightforward. KKR have a better record against RR. Without a couple of key players (Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes), RR would be looking at Klaasen and Loughlin to fill up big shoes. KKR have got the better of RR in the two league stage matches.

Head to head:
Overall: Matches - 17
Won by Kolkata Knight Riders - 8
Won by Rajasthan Royals - 9

Last 5 games
Won by KKR - 5
Won by RR - 0

Last time we played RR wasn’t too long ago. It was both team’s second last match and a win was required to step towards the playoffs. RR made one great start with the bat and were at 63/0 in 4.5 overs. They couldn’t keep the pace and lost track with the wicket of Rahul Tripathi. RR were all out at 142 in 19 overs, thanks to a great bowling spell from Kuldeep Yadav (4/20). We chased the total comfortably with 6 wickets in hand and two overs to spare.

Match Details:
IPL 2018 Eliminator - 23 May, 2018, 19:00 (IST), Eden Gardens, Kolkata.