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IPL2024: Rajasthan Royals want to end their losing record and take the second slot from Kolkata Knight Riders, who are currently atop the table

When Rajasthan Royals play Kolkata Knight Riders, who are atop the table, in a crucial IPL match on Sunday, they will be driven to end their four-match losing streak and place in the top two.

The Royals began the tournament with a four-game losing streak despite having 16 points, which was enough to guarantee them a postseason spot.

Since their great England opener, Jos Buttler, is heading home for national service, the Royals have a tough task ahead of them. Their batting prowess has escaped them, as they have failed to reach the 150-mark in either of their previous two games.

If they are to end their losing run and qualify for the playoffs by finishing in the top two, which would offer them two chances to advance to the championship, their top three hitters, Yashasvi Jaiswal, captain Sanju Samson, and hometown hero Riyan Parag, will have to take on more duties.

Conversely, KKR (19 points) have already guaranteed themselves a top spot in the rankings with a one-point washout over Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad during the previous round.

They will have a lot of confidence, but they also may need to avoid being complacent.

After defeating the Mumbai Indians in the second leg match at Eden Gardens on May 11, KKR has not participated in a game with the washout in Ahmedabad.

It may be quite annoying for them to go to Ahmedabad, return home to Kolkata for a day of practice, and then travel to Guwahati for the league’s last encounter, since it would disrupt their winning run of four games.

It would be interesting to see whether the team led by Gautam Gambhir can maintain their winning momentum without seeming stale.

While they were preparing for the T20 World Cup next month, they lost their in-form opener Phil Salt, who was their second-leading wicket-getter this season. The Englishman is returning home for the series against Pakistan.

The two KKR openers, Salt and Narine, have combined for 897 runs at a strike rate of more than 182, with seven fifty-five and a century.

The pair’s outstanding performance has been crucial to KKR’s run to their first postseason appearance since 2021.

While Rahmanullah Gurbaz will be a comparable substitute for Salt, it would be unreasonable to anticipate the same level of immediate influence.

The Afghan wicketkeeper-batter, who participated in 11 matches in 2023, has not participated in any games this season. His most recent appearance was on March 18 in a Twenty20 International match against Ireland.

The onus will be on players like captain Shreyas Iyer and the finishing tandem of Rinku Singh and Andre Russell to strike in tandem as KKR will be anxious to maintain their rhythm.

Since the weather is expected to be slower than usual and the ball seemed to halt in the most recent Rajasthan Royals vs. Punjab Kings game, rain is also predicted.

Groups (from):

The following players represent the Kolkata Knight Riders: Rinku Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Ramandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Mitchell Starc, Dushmantha Chameera, Sakib Hussain, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gus Atkinson, and Allah Ghazanfar.

Abid Mushtaq, Avesh Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Donovan Ferreira, Kuldeep Sen, Kunal Singh Rathore, Nandre Burger, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Shubham Dubey, Rovman Powell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Trent Boult, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tanush Kotian are the Rajasthan Royals. Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

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