With five teams up for contention in the Playoffs, nearly every fixture in this season of Indian Premier League has become crucial. As the sun shone over the Holkar Stadium in Indore, KKR batsman made good work out of a exhausted Kings XI Punjab bowling as they got off to a blistering start. Sunrisers Hyderabad have claimed a playoff spot, while Chennai Super Kings are almost there; but two points separate five teams vying for the remaining two.
Yet another season to forget for Virat Kohli-led side.
Probably one of the most hard matches to predict, we go with Kolkata Knight Riders in our IPL Match Predictions only because of the home advantage they have. They have two away games scheduled next - in Mumbai and in Pune. After that, their fate will be decided by other teams, which will be the last thing the two-time IPL champions would want.
On Tuesday, the Eden Gardens, Kolkata will again witness the battle of runs in between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals. Rajasthan have been on a roll recently, having beaten Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai in succession.
They now sit 5th on the IPL table and are pitched in a death match of sorts.
They have themselves to blame for putting themselves in such scenario. If they win both their remaining matches, it will make sure the fourth qualifying team can go through with 14 points.
The recent slump in form resulted in them fighting for their survival. They got home with two overs to spare, ensuring they not only moved into the playoff zone but also gave their net run rate a fillip ahead of their final league game.
It could be a battle between the spinners of KKR and the pacers of RR. While KKR is at the third spot owing to a better Net Run Rate, just below them lie Rajasthan Royals in the fourth place. After three straight wins, this was quite a reversal in fortunes for the visiting team.
KKR journey has been a roller coaster, their last win against Indore being the up. A loss or washout will bring down curtains to their campaign. If KKR beat SRH and KXIP beat both MI and CSK, RR will get eliminated even if they beat RCB in their last fixture. As the host team, they played with full confidence.
Kuldeep was encouraged by the gift from RR skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who was bowled while trying a reverse sweep a googly pitched on the leg stump, in his first over.