Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders: Royals' greater need gives them the edge

Rajasthan need another big innings from Steve Smith in this game
Rajasthan need another big innings from Steve Smith in this game

Rajasthan were the early leaders of this year's IPL after winning their opening five fixtures but such has been their collapse that that they now have to win this, their final game, to have any hope of making the playoffs. Kolkata have playoff ambitions of their own and will be tough opposition. Richard O'Hagan previews an enthralling contest...

"The market is predicting a close contest, but with both sides effectively playing away due to the ban on the Royals playing in Rajasthan itself, and only one of them actually having to win this game, the 2.166/5 on Rajasthan winning looks more attractive than Kolkata’s 1.845/6"

Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders
Saturday May 13
15:30 BST
Live on Sky Sports 2

Rajasthan Royals

After dominating the early stages of the IPL, Rajasthan are in danger of slipping out of the playoff places. Only a big win in this game will leave them with any hope of still being in the competition next week, as their net run rate is vastly inferior to the teams above them.

In order to do that, they'll need to turn around a record of only one win in their last six completed games, against a team who have only lost once in their last five. A large part of their trouble has been down to their bowling attack. Not one Rajasthan bowler features in the top 20 wicket takers in this year's IPL. The unheralded Dhawal Kulkarni is top ranked at 21 and the Royals will hope to have him back in the lineup after he sat out Sunday's defeat to Chennai, but they'll need better performances than they have had from the likes of Chris Morris and James Faulkner, too.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Whilst Kolkata are not assured of a playoff place at this moment, they could conceivably lose this game and still finish in the top four, even if their winning run did come to a halt with a surprise loss to Mumbai on Thursday.

Key to that defeat were some uncharacteristically poor performances with the ball. Umesh Yadav almost never goes at over 12 an over, whilst Sunil Narine looks a shadow of the bowler he once was before his action was questioned. There's a chance that Narine, in particular, might be rested for this game, which would allow Brad Hogg, who was surprisingly effective as Narine's replacement earlier in the competition, to return.

Venue and Conditions

The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai has been lightly used in this competition, but in the only completed game played there both sides ran up scores of over 190. With the hosts having everything to play for and the visitors' bowling attack showing signs of fatigue, this should be another high-scoring contest.

Match Odds

The market is predicting a close contest, but with both sides effectively playing away due to the ban on the Royals playing in Rajasthan itself, and only one of them actually having to win this game, the 2.166/5 on Rajasthan winning looks more attractive than Kolkata's 1.845/6

Top Rajasthan Batsman

Despite the Royals' fall down the IPL table, Ajinkya Rahane remains the second top scorer in this year's competition. However, the man who has enjoyed batting at this venue the most is Steve Smith and at odds of around 4.216/5 the Australian number three is better value to top score again.

Top Kolkata Batsman

Robin Uthappa's form in this competition has been impressive and he's been very consistent at the top of the order, which is not often the case for wicketkeeper-batsmen. The man in the richest vein of form, though, is Yusuf Pathan, who suddenly seems to have turned back into the player who was once the most expensive in IPL history. Back him at around 4.25.

Recommended Bet:

Back Steve Smith to be top Rajasthan Royals batsman at odds of over 4.216/5

Richard's IPL2015 P/L

Staked: 36 pts
Returned: 50.13 pts
+/-: +14.13 pts

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