IPL 2018 Preview: Six-hitting power of Sanju Samson and Andre Russell in focus as Rajasthan host Kolkata

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Sanju Samson has been consistent in IPL 2018. Image: BCCI

Bowlers can expect a tough day in the office as Kolkata Knight Riders travel to Jaipur to play Rajasthan Royals in the IPL on Wednesday.

Rajasthan Royals have achieved the highest total in the IPL so far this season – 217 for four – while the Knight Riders have scored 200 or more twice already.

The wicket in Jaipur is expected to be batsman friendly, which means we should witness a six fest.

TALKING POINTS

Rajasthan Royals mentor Shane Warne has left the country for a ‘short holiday’. Will be interesting to see how they fare without his guidance. England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been flying under the radar a bit and will be hoping to make a statement. All-rounder Jofra Archer is reportedly fit so should hope for gametime.

The Knight Riders will be thrilled with their previous result against the Delhi Daredevils – 71-run win after scoring 200. Slow bowlers Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav were perfect against Delhi but will have their work cut out in Jaipur.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

Sanju Samson hit eight sixes against Bangalore before hitting his first four during his knock of 92 in their previous game. The Royals will be hoping for similar clean hitting from the Kerala batsman. Samson has hit 12 sixes in three outings, including 10 against Bangalore.

Kolkata star all-rounder Andre Russell showed why he is one of the most valuable cricketers on the planet. He has already smashed 19 sixes from 64 balls faced in the tournament for a strike rate of 239. However, he has picked up only one wicket in four matches. A good game with the ball will set the West Indian up for the rest of tournament.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), D’Arcy Short, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler (wk), K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Raina, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Tom Curran, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav

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IPL 2018: Shivam Mavi spoils Gautam Gambhir's 'homecoming' as Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Delhi Daredevils

Ashish Peter 16/04/2018
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Gambhir was dismissed by Mavi on his Kolkata return. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Gautam Gambhir’s return to the Eden Gardens wasn’t a happy one as his Delhi Daredevils side fell to a heavy 71-run defeat against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

After the home side had put up 200/9 on the board after being put into bat first, the Daredevils failed miserably with the bat as they were bowled out for 129 runs in under 15 overs.

We look at the key talking points from the IPL clash.

TRENT BOULT BRINGS BACK THE MAIDEN

While the runs have been flowing in the year’s IPL with no total being safe, bowlers have caught the short end of the stick on many occasions. There was a welcome change to the domination by batsmen as Trent Boult delivered the first maiden of the 2018 edition.

Opening the bowling for Delhi Daredevils, the New Zealand ace had Australia’s big-hitting Chris Lynn to contend with first up. The left-armed pacer bowled with accuracy and speed as he beat the Kolkata Knight Riders opener a couple of times before bringing up the maiden. It was a decent outing for Boult as he finished with economical figures of 2-29 off his four overs.

RUSSELL LAUNCHES ANOTHER SENSATIONAL ASSUALT

Andre Russell had given a timely reminder of his six-hitting powers when he smashed a 33-ball 88 against Chennai Super Kings. That swashbuckling innings featured 11 sixes. On Monday, he started in the very same fashion as he hit Mohammed Shami for three sixes in the 15th over of Kolkata’s innings. Shami would get the same treatment from the West Indies all-rounder in his next over as Russell carted him for three more sixes.

Russell was looking good to break KL Rahul’s record of the fastest IPL fifty (off 14 balls) before he was clean-bowled by Boult. Without hitting a single boundary, his 12-ball 41 had changed the momentum of the game completely and set Kolkata up for a huge total.

TEWATIA’S EXTRAORDINARY FINAL OVER

Heading into the 20th over of their innings at 199-6, the Knight Riders had set themselves up perfectly for one final assault on the Delhi Daredevils bowling. As such, the task for leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia was cut out as he was thrown the ball by his skipper.

In what would turn out to be a remarkable final over for any T20 game, the single taken off the first ball by Tom Curran would end up being the only run to come off it.

Giving the ball a lot of air, Tewatia then went on to account for the wickets of Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla and Curran as the hosts were left wondering what hit them. To turn to his leg-spinner for the final over was a brave move by Gambhir and it paid off handsomely.

MAVI SPOILS GAMBHIR’S HOMECOMING

After seven seasons with the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise where he led the side to two IPL titles, it was always going to be an emotional homecoming for Gambhir as he returned to the Eden Gardens.

Unfortunately for 36-year-old, it will not be one to remember after the Daredevils skipper lasted only seven balls with the bat in hand. The left-hander was dismissed by India U19 World Cup winning pacer Shivam Mavi who looked to be on song in only his second IPL outing.

Gambhir was a touch late in attempting to cut the wiry speedster and could only inside-edge the ball onto his stumps to complete a dismal return to his old stomping ground.

THE MAXWELL SHOW FINALLY ARRIVES BUT IT IS TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

With scores of just 17 and 13 in his previous two outings for Delhi Daredevils, Glenn Maxwell had failed to really lift-off in IPL 2018 until Monday.

The maverick Australian batsman finally found his range as he brought out his signature big hits at the Eden Gardens. Maxwell slammed four sixes and three boundaries as he quickly raced away to 47 off just 21 balls.

Just when the swashbuckling Aussie was finding some form, he threw his wicket away to a rank half-tracker from Kuldeep Yadav. With his dismissal, any remaining hopes for Daredevils scripting an unlikely victory faded into oblivion.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Pressure building on both teams as Mumbai Indians welcome Royal Challengers Bangalore

Ashish Peter 16/04/2018
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Mumbai Indians are desperate for their first win. Image - MI/Twitter.

Two teams with flailing fortunes so far in the 2018 edition of the IPL will meet when Mumbai Indians take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede stadium on Tuesday.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians have suffered a horrific start to the tournament after losing all three of their matches so far. What will gripe the Rohit Sharma-led unit even more is that two of those defeats have come in their own backyard.

On the other hand, Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers have had a topsy-turvy start to their campaign once again. After a loss to Kolkata Knight Riders, the franchise had turned things around with a victory over Kings XI Punjab at home. All that good work was undone as they fell to a 19-run defeat to Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

TALKING POINTS

MUMBAI INDIANS MISSING THE FINAL PUSH

The three defeats Mumbai have suffered this season have all been mighty close ones. Rohit Sharma’s men are making a habit of taking all their matches down to the wire but have missed that final push to turn defeat to victory.

They lost the tournament opener to Chennai Super Kings in the penultimate ball after some heroics from Dwayne Bravo. The franchise then fell to defeats on the final ball against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils. To lose all three matches by a whisker will have hurt the defending champions badly.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Keiron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah, Mustafizur Rahman, Adam Milne.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock (wk), Virat Kohi (C), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Chris Woakes, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.

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