Rajasthan Royals will be up against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday. KKR will be looking to continue their splendid run while the Royals are looking forward to register their second win of this season.
Both teams will be heading into this contest after having won their respective games against Royal Challengers Bangalore. KKR got the better of RCB by five wickets on Friday while Rajasthan had also defeated the same opposition by seven wickets in the penultimate over on Tuesday.
Here's a look at a few factors that will make this a must-watch clash:
1. Beware of the Russell-Muscle: With a dream IPL kickstart, Andre Russell is the man to look out for. He has made the bowlers forget their rhythm and punished them for erring in their line and length by hitting them to all parts of the ground. He snatched a certain victory from RCB's hands with an explosive knock of an unbeaten 13-ball 48 which helped KKR chase down a huge target of 206. The Rajasthan bowlers will have their task cut as they will not be able to heave a sigh of relief as long as the big West Indian power-hitter is out in the middle.
2. Nitish Rana's impressive performance: Rana has been making some important contributions for the KKR. He played a cameo of a 23-ball 37, which kept KKR's scoreboard ticking in their chase of 206. Rana has amassed 169 runs in the four matches that have been played so far which includes two half-centuries at a strike rate of 159.43. KKR will be hoping for yet another impressive knock from this middle-order batsman against Rajasthan.
3. Head-to-head records: Both teams are equally matched when it comes to the overall head-to-head matches. In the 19 matches that have happened between the two sides, both Rajasthan and Kolkata have won nine games each. However, Rajasthan enjoys a 3-2 victory margin in the five games that have been played in their backyard.
4. Will Jos Buttler make an impact once again?: Jos Buttler finally found back his mojo as he scored a match-winning 43-ball 59 at a strike rate of 137.21 in the last game against RCB. Prior, to this knock he had a couple of poor games where he was dismissed early. The English batsman will be hoping to get some runs under his belt and provide a good start for Rajasthan.
5. Will Steve Smith fire all cylinders?: Even as Steve Smith has not yet managed to make his bat do the talking in the last four games, the Australian batsman amassed only 86 runs at a strike rate of 111.68. He will be hoping to put up a good show against KKR.