Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2012, Jaipur

Kolkata face challenge of Rajasthan fortress

The Preview by Sidharth Monga

April 7, 2012

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Match facts

Sunday, April 8, Jaipur
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)


Kieron Pollard high fives Sunil Narine, West Indies v Australia, 3rd ODI, St Vincent, March 20, 2012
Kieron Pollard is setlled and well in the IPL, but when will Knight Riders play Sunil Narine? © AFP
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Big Picture

Shane Warne's Cinderella XI and Shah Rukh Khan's expensively assembled ensemble made for good contests in the first few seasons of the IPL. At the heart of it was the clash between the personalities of Warne and Sourav Ganguly. Neither Warne nor Ganguly represents these teams, but they have retained their original character.

Rajasthan Royals, under Rahul Dravid, don't have too many superstars, and the ones they do have are not available in the initial part of the season. Yet they have begun with a win. Kolkata Knight Riders is so full of talent that they couldn't make space for Twenty20 certainties such as Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan. Yet they began with a defeat, albeit a rain-interrupted one. The two teams will continue the rivalry at Royals' fortress, Jaipur.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.

Players to watch

As captain and coach, Dravid had huge shoes to fill, but has got off to a good start in his first game. He will know, though, that his side has to keep surprising people to go far in the tournament. He won't mind a big knock or three himself, to prove once again that long-format batsmen can adapt to shorter formats much easier than the other way around.

That Sunil Narine has let go of a possible Test debut against Australia is a big talking point in the West Indies. The little discussion that the IPL generates has focussed on why he didn't get his IPL debut either. Perhaps it had to do with the rain. Will he be playing for Knight Riders as West Indies go into the second day of the Barbados Test?

2011 head-to-head

Knight Riders won both games pretty convincingly, by nine and eight wickets.

Stats and trivia

  • Royals have won 13 of their 18 games at Sawai Mansingh Stadium
  • These two teams have played one of the only two tied IPL matches, in 2009 at Newlands

Quotes

"I don't think about becoming the India captain. For me, it's about scoring lot of runs for India. Leading India is always a great honour, but I would hate to get picked as a captain who can't contribute in the middle… If ever I am selected as the captain of India, it will be a great honour."
Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir at an inter-college event in Mumbai

"Yes, I am a bit disappointed about missing a hundred, but a match-winning 98 is also satisfying. I don't rate it as my best knock, but certainly it is one of the best."
Royals' Ajinkya Rahane looks back at an ideal start to his IPL season

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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