If a poll is held to identify the most exciting team in the first week of the ongoing IPL, Rajasthan Royals are sure to win by a mile. Based in India’s desert state, the Steve Smith-led side has raised a storm in the UAE, pulling off two incredible back-to-back wins. On Wednesday, however, they might meet their match in Kolkata Knight Riders at Dubai International Stadium. The Knights have a few batsmen in the line-up, who can raise a storm too.
The sides enjoy a healthy rivalry, with a 10-10 head-to-head record (one game was abandoned due to rain). However, KKR will be boosted by the fact that they have won four times in their last five encounters. Both sides will be stepping out of their dens – Sharjah for RR and Abu Dhabi for KKR – for the first time and need to adjust to the larger Dubai ground with a much slower pitch.
RR so far have depended on explosive top-order display backed by perhaps the best young Indian batting unit. KKR will look to pacers Pat Cummins and Kamlesh Nagarkoti to stop openers Smith and Jos Butler, before tackling the consistent Sanju Samson and last match’s hero Rahul Tewatia. RR’s middle order in Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag has failed to deliver and an early inroad could see KKR grasping the initiative.

Playing with six specialist bowlers, KKR did almost everything right in their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last match. On a slower Dubai track, they might again be tempted to go in with three spinners, but it remains to be seen whether they decide to boost their batting unit on Wednesday by dropping one pacer. However, the way Samson had attacked the spinners, it should turn out to be an interesting encounter.
RR’s bowling, however, might be a cause of concern for the team management with too much dependence on English pacer Jofra Archer as both Jaydev Unadkat and Tom Curran have not been consistent so far.
They look weak in the spin department too with below-par show from Shreyas Gopal. RR could mull playing an extra spinner in Mayank Markande or Mohipal Lomror and also look to Tewatia to come good with the ball.

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