Match number 12 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 takes us back to Dubai where the Rajasthan Royals take on Kolkata Knight Riders (RR vs KKR). Rajasthan will be looking to continue their perfect start to the tournament whereas the Knight Riders will look to get that second win under their belt.
The Royals bowlers can take a breath of relief as this will be their first match away from Sharjah which is considered as a bowler’s graveyard. Both these teams will be playing their first game in Dubai in this tournament. In the head-to-head battle, the Knight Riders have a slight edge over the Royals, having won 10 as compared to 8 by Rajasthan. The last five matches in RR vs KKR have been dominated by Kolkata, as they have won four out of the five previous games.
Steven Smith vs Sunil Narine
It’s the battle between the leader of the Rajasthan Royals, Steven Smith and Kolkata Knight Riders’ best bowler, Sunil Narine. Steve Smith is probably one of the most successful captains in IPL. The only season he led a team for the entire season was in 2017 (Rising Pune Supergiants) and the team reached the final. Overall, Smith has the best win % among captains in IPL with 25 plus matches. He has started to open the innings this season and that looks like a masterstroke by RR.
Not only has he won matches but also scored runs consistently as a captain across T20s. Smith’s average of 101.5 in first 6 overs is the highest by any batsman with 60+ balls faced in IPL. If anyone can stop Smudge, it’s off-break bowlers. He has the highest dot ball percentage against Narine among all the IPL bowlers he has faced for 30 or more balls. So this matchup is one to look out for. Steve Smith has enough quality to respect Narine and cash in against the other KKR bowlers.
Sunil Narine may not be the same bowler he was before he had to remodel his action but he is still KKR’s premier bowler. He hasn’t been amongst the leading wicket-takers in the tournament yet but a big performance shouldn’t be far away for the Trinidadian.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Sanju Samson has been in the form of his life and this is probably the best cricket he has ever played in his career. He looks much calmer and is focusing on playing big innings for his team rather than those cameos he was playing in the previous editions.
Shubman Gill looked in magnificent touch in the previous match at Abu Dhabi, as his 70* on a tricky pitch earned him the Man of the Match award against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He’ll look to continue his good form in this coming match as well.
RR: Jos Butler (WK), Steven Smith (C), Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaidev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot
KKR: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (WK) (C), Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Patrick Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagerkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy
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