October 7, 2021 4:08:25 pm
Good news for Kolkata Knight Riders is that both Andre Russell and Lockie Ferguson could be available for their final group league game against Rajasthan Royals. KKR’s Twitter handle posted a picture of the duo netting on the match eve, with a caption: “Where is Russell? Where is Lockie? Well they are at the training ground, firing in all cylinders”.
Injuries had sidelined Russell and Ferguson and getting them back for an important game would be a real shot in the arm for the franchise. With 12 points from 13 matches and a net run-rate of +0.29, a win against Royals is likely to take the two-time IPL champions to the Playoffs.
If Russell and/or Ferguson returns to the playing eleven, then that could be at the expense of Shakib Al Hasan and/or Tim Southee respectively. But there’s a catch. Spinner Varun Chakravarthy is rumoured to be playing with a dodgy knee and if reports are true, the KKR management could be in a dilemma to play the mystery spinner ahead of the knockouts. In that case, they might have to rejig the combination, retaining Shakib as their second spinner.
Royals had their fate in their own hands, but a meltdown against Mumbai Indians all but cancelled their Playoff chances. They are on 10 points from 13 games and a victory against KKR will take them to 12. But Royals’ net run-rate of -0.73 is a serious impediment to their progress. And yet, after folding up for 90, one or two changes in the batting line-up are expected, which might see Liam Livingstone’s return in place of Glenn Phillips. In the bowling department, Kartik Tyagi for Kuldip Yadav could be an option.
Kolkata Knight Riders Likely XI: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell/Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson/Tim Southee, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Rajasthan Royals Likely XI: Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Liam Livingstone/Glenn Phillips, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Kuldip Yadav/Kartik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya
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