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The Preview by Siddhartha Talya
April 12, 2012
Match factsFriday, April 13 , Kolkata
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Just into the second week of the IPL, the Rajasthan Royals take on Kolkata Knight Riders for the second time this season. The Knight Riders lost that contest, their second in a row, but recovered to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in comprehensive fashion.
The Royals, since then, lost to Mumbai Indians, and the teams have endured contrasting fortunes after their previous meeting. The Royals perhaps miscalculated by playing Brad Hogg in their defeat to Mumbai instead of Brad Hodge and then conceding 197. The Knight Riders had their top order back in touch in their win against Royal Challengers, after being dismissed cheaply in their loss to the Royals. The Knight Riders may have more confidence on their side this time, and home support to back it up.
Players to watch
While Ajinkya Rahane has impressed at the top, Owais Shah has proved highly reliable in the middle order for the Royals with scores of 14*, 23* and 76 - the last one included five sixes - and an admirable average of 35.28 in the shortest format.
As he was for his former team, the Royals, in the first three seasons, Yusuf Pathan is a key member of the Knight Riders side but has failed to fire so far. With 16 runs in three innings and nothing to show for with the ball, his side needs him to step up quickly.
The teams played each other back to back in the IPL last year, with Knight Riders winning each time. Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir scored unbeaten half-centuries to help their side chase down 160 to win by nine wickets in Jaipur, and a collective bowling effort led by L Balaji skittled out the Royals for 85 two days later at Eden Gardens.
Stats and trivia
"This was the best spell that I have ever seen in a Twenty20 competition."
Gautam Gambhir, the Knight Riders captain, on L Balaji's spell of 4 for 18 against the Royal Challengers.
"This is the first time I've had much of a chance, this is the first time I've played in an IPL team. I actually feel like I'm having a proper run in a side now."
Owais Shah, who's been part of four IPL teams, finally feels he is getting a good run
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala
Also, fewest boundaries in a T20 innings, most runs in a Test, England's international record-holder, and a pest named Fruitfly
Players demanding that home pitches should be prepared to favour them don't realise it's a retaliatory business
ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over the preparation of all 16 Australia players ahead of the first Test, which starts in Dubai on Wednesday