Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders have survived the scare of an elimination from the Indian Premier League 2018 well beyond their last games. Their virtual quarter-final at the Garden of Eden today (Wednesday) is as much a result of the two teams resurgence from the brink of elimination as it is for some other top guns failure to fire when it mattered the most.
Now there are no more if and buts, no combinations or permutations. The winner takes it all. The loser is a loser for the season. The rival captains performance will matter the most for their sides. Kolkata Knight Riders skipper has reinvented himself with the bad and behind the stumps. For Rajasthan Royals, Ajinkya Rahane has left a lot to be desired as the team has stayed afloat on the batting strength of Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson. The team will miss its best performer for the season Buttler.
Kolkata Knight Riders in their ranks have three consistent performers – skipper Dinesh Karthik, Caribbean All-rounder Sunil Narine and Aussie Chris Lynn hold they for the Knights of Kolkata. Narine on the strength of his batting (327 runs) and bowling (16 wickets) from 14 matches figures in the top 20 batsmen at the No. 8 position among the bowlers. Karthik, No. 12 on the IPL Moneyball Impact Rank for 438 runs, 13 catches, three stumpings and a run out from behind the wicket, will have to maintain his form for KKR to survive the day to play the second eliminator. Chris Lynn, ranked 11th on the Moneyball Impact Rank, holds the key in his role as the lead batsman for the team.
Rajasthan Royals will be without their key performer Jos Buttler. The absence of the consistent performer may hit Rajasthan Royals hard. Buttler’s 5th IPL Moneyball rankings and a place among the top five IPL batsmen this season, having scored 548 runs as an average 54.80 and strike rates of 158.41, speaks volumes about the impact his absence will make on the Royals. The next best Sanju Samson (331 runs) and skipper Rahane (324 runs) will need an unprecedented support from the team for Rajasthan Royals to evade a looming elimination.
For now, their Kings of the Knights are making the home team firm favourites in the first eliminator for IPL 2018, the Royals of Rajasthan will need to find a new king to swim against the tide.