Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Rajasthan Royals (Kolkata) 8 pm
Kolkata, Apr 24:
His job safe for now, skipper Dinesh Karthik will be praying for a turnaround in the fortunes of a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders, as they meet Rajasthan Royals in the IPL here tomorrow.
KKR have suffered five defeats on the trot, exposing their over-reliance on Andre Russell, and Karthik has copped criticism for not promoting the big-hitting West Indian up the order.
Chosen ahead of the young Rishabh Pant in the World Cup squad in a debatable decision, the Tamil Nadu veteran, who was KKR’s leading run-getter last season, is struggling for runs with an average of 16.71 from nine outings.
Facing a must-win situation ahead of the remaining four matches, head coach Jacques Kallis has backed the under-fire skipper to script a 2014-like turnaround when they won their second title with nine wins in a row.
The frustration in the team management was palpable when Karthik, along with other under-performing India players, including Kuldeep Yadav, were given a couple of days break following their nine-wicket rout of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last match.
“I think the guys are frustrated, and we felt they needed a break. DK went home for a day as well. It’s about getting the guys refreshed and just trying to be mentally up for the game again,” Kallis has said.
The biggest letdown for the team has been its bowling unit, especially the spinners who have lacked sting at the Eden Gardens, something that was its main strength during the title-winning campaigns in 2012 and 2014.
The famed trio of Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla have accounted for just 16 wickets from 10 matches, summing up their misery.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, Matt Kelly, KC Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Steve Smith, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Liam Livingstone, Varun Aaron, Jos Buttler, Shahshank Singh, Manan Vohra and Rahul Tripathi. (PTI)