Kolkata: Indian Premier League (IPL) table-toppers Rajasthan Royals face a massive test of character when they take on defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
Both teams lost their previous encounters and will look to get back to their winnings ways through this match.
For the Knights, it will be a return to their fortress after almost two weeks and with their vocal fans screaming their names, their confidence will be sky-high. The home team, who are third in the standings, have won three of their five matches so far while the Royals have clinched five out of seven.
In the last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR failed to chase down 118 from 12 overs in a rain-curtailed game. Even though the top-order tried hard, they kept on losing wickets to eventually fall short of the target. However, Robin Uthappa’s knock of 34 showed signs of him inching towards form.
The Royals too were convincingly beaten by the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Friday. A poor batting display gifted RCB an easy win. Even old war-horse, leg-spinner Pravin Tambe was unimpressive in the outing.
A 4 p.m. start can have a heavy toll on the fielding side because of the humid conditions here at this time of the year. So the side winning toss would look to bat. However, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir has opted to chase every time he has had the flip of the coin going his way.
KKR’s concern going into the game again will be West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who has looked out of sorts. Having had his bowling action reported again, the offie will face a lot of hurdles ahead in going back to his best.
The visitors will bank on their batting firepower to outdo the champions. Skipper Shane Watson, his Australian teammate Steve Smith, Deepak Hooda and Ajinkya Rahane, presently possessing the orange cap, have been in sparkling form, of late.
Their bowling looks a well-knit unit too with the likes of Chris Morris and Dhawal Kulkarni leading the pack.
But on their home turf, the Knights will be tough to conquer.