Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals, Dubai
Pro Tip: Trust the overseas pros to do the job in this must-win fixture for either team.
Our XI: Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Sunil Narine, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Varun Chakravarthy
Substitutes: Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Pat Cummins
Player availability: There is no official news on Andre Russell’s availability yet, but everyone else is good to go.
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Captain: Ben Stokes
Stokes has been in terrific form with the bat and since he started bowling, he has become a different player. In the last two innings, Stokes has scored a fifty and a hundred, making it an aggregate of 157 runs at a strike rate of 182.55. He also picked up a couple of wickets for 32 runs in the last game.
Vice-captain: Eoin Morgan
It’s must-win game for the Knight Riders, and Morgan, with his calm and the ability to score at a rapid pace, makes a very good choice. Morgan has scored 350 runs this season at a strike rate of 131.08. With two legspinners in the opposition in the middle overs, he should sparkle, and with a strike rate of 221.87 at the death this season, Morgan could do a lot of damage in that phase as well.
Shubman Gill: Gill returned to form against the Kings XI Punjab with a free-flowing 57, followed by a brisk 26 against the Chennai Super Kings. Among the six batsmen who have opened the batting for the Knight Riders at least thrice since 2019, Gill has scored the most runs: 633 at an average of 39.56 and a strike rate of 123.63.
Nitish Rana: Rana has been a better player since he started opening for the Knight Riders. He has scored 236 runs at a strike rate of 145.67 in four innings as an opener, and has three fifties.
Jofra Archer: Archer has picked up two wickets in each of his last three games. He now has a total of 19 in the tournament at an economy of 6.69. He has been a penetrative force in the powerplay this season, picking up nine wickets (second highest in the tournament) at an economy of 4.58.
Varun Chakravarthy: Varun has picked up at least a wicket in the majority of the games. He is the highest wicket-taker for the Knight Riders this season with 15 strikes at an economy of 7. In the last three games, he picked up eight wickets at a strike rate of 9 and an economy of 6.16.
Rahul Tewatia: Tewatia played a huge part in a couple of wins for the Royals, but those were a while ago. He has 224 runs at a strike rate of 143.58 overall, and has seven wickets at an economy of 7.16.
Sanju Samson is an alternate vice-captaincy option given his form – 138 runs in the last three games at a strike rate of 168.29. Not to forget, he is also the Royals’ keeper. You might want to use him smartly if the Royals chase, because the majority of Samson’s runs have come while chasing of late.
If Russell is fit and playing, slot him right in in place of Tewatia.
If the Knight Riders bat first, Rana is also a vice-captain option. His 87 and 81 came while batting first.
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