Rajasthan Royals vs Kolkata Knight Riders: Preview and Prediction

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Rajasthan Royals will face off against Kolkata Knight Riders on May 19th

After approximately two months of thrilling cricket, the trend-setting 2024 Indian Premier League season is set to witness its final league match as Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders will clash on Sunday evening at Guwahati’s Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Assam, which is temporarily serving as the home ground for the Sanju Samson-led Royals.

KKR, under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer, is enjoying a stellar season, currently sitting at the top of the points table. KKR is assured of a top-two finish regardless of the outcome of their final match. 

However, the hosts, Royals, have recently experienced a significant dip in form, causing concern among the team and their fans. They will be eager to rebound strongly as the tournament approaches its crucial phase.

While KKR is guaranteed two opportunities in the playoffs to secure a spot in the final of the cash-rich league, RR could enjoy the same advantage if they must win their last match, and finish with 18 points.

What has happened so far?

The first half of the tournament for the Royals has been truly remarkable, as the team secured 8 victories in their first 9 games. Their sole defeat came against Gujarat Titans in Jaipur, where RR failed to defend a total of 196 runs. Apart from this setback, they dominated five-time IPL winners Mumbai Indians twice, defeated Lucknow Super Giants twice, and overpowered several other teams. 

However, problems began for the Kumar Sangakkara-coached side in their 10th match of the season, suffering a heartbreaking loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad by just 1 run. In their subsequent match against Delhi Capitals, RR faltered again, missing out on two crucial points in an unsuccessful run chase. Their troubles continued as they lost their last two matches against Chennai Super Kings and Punjab Kings, both by 5 wickets.

On the other hand, the Knight Riders began their campaign with 3 consecutive wins, including a resounding 106-run victory against DC. However, inconsistency marred their next 5 matches, where they managed only 2 wins, against LSG and Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

Despite a morale-denting loss to PBKS at Eden Gardens, KKR rebounded strongly, securing victories in their next 4 matches against DC, LSG, and MI twice. Unfortunately, their most recent match against GT was washed out due to rain, resulting in both teams sharing the points.

Head to Head Record

Interestingly, the head-to-head record between RR and KKR is remarkably balanced, with neither team holding an advantage over the other. Out of the 29 matches they have played against each other, both teams have secured 14 wins each, with one match ending in a no result.

Key Players

Riyan Parag (Rajasthan Royals): Playing in front of his home crowd, Guwahati-born Riyan Parag is having a breakout IPL season. Recently, Parag has surpassed captain Sanju Samson to become the highest run-scorer for his team this season. 

He is also the fourth leading run-scorer in the ongoing season, having accumulated 531 runs in 12 innings with an impressive average nearing 60 and a strike rate of over 150.

The right-handed batter has the fourth-most runs (531) by a batter from No. 4 or below in an IPL season. The 22-year-old has a golden opportunity to break Rishabh Pant’s 7-year-old record of 579 runs in a season by scoring just 48 runs or more in the upcoming match.

Narine has been bowling with an economy rate of 6.64, the second best in IPL 2024 (min 10 matches)

Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders): An absolute match-winner for Kolkata, Sunil Narine has given his all to the franchise. The Caribbean star all-rounder is one of the main reasons KKR sits atop the standings, overshadowing every other team.

Narine, opening for KKR, is currently eighth among all players and second among overseas players in terms of most runs scored this season. In 12 innings, Narine has smashed 461 runs with a strike rate of 182.93, including three fifties and one century, which came against RR.

With the ball, the right-arm off-break bowler has picked up 15 wickets with an average of 20.80 and a strike rate of 18.80.

Team News from Both Camps

Both teams have been significantly affected by the departure of their English players, who have flown back to England for international duties as the England Cricket Team gears up to play against Pakistan in a four-match T20I series.

RR has lost their vital opener, Jos Buttler, who delivered a match-winning hundred against KKR earlier this season.

Similarly, KKR has suffered a blow with the departure of their key opener, Phillip Salt, who is the second-highest run-getter for Knight Riders this season, having amassed 435 runs in 12 innings. Consequently, KKR will be considering Rahmanullah Gurbaz as a like-for-like replacement for Salt.

Predicted XIs

Rajasthan Royals: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sanju Samson © (wk), Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Rovman Powell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Sandeep Sharma, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal

Kolkata Knight Riders: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer ©, Rinku Singh, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy


Based on their current form, the team mentored by Gautam Gambhir appears to be the favorite to finish their campaign on a high note in Guwahati in the final league game of the season.