Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Match 18 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Both teams are undergoing a stuttering campaign. RR were flattened by Bangalore in their previous game by 10 wickets. KKR came as close as 19 runs within the target but were majorly dominated by Chennai. Both sides have only one win in four games each.
There is not much to differentiate between these two teams in terms of historical record. KKR have won 12 times in 22 IPL games against RR. In the last five meetings, however, KKR have beaten RR on four occasions.
Overall - Matches – 22 | Kolkata - 12 Wins | Rajasthan - 10 Wins
Last five games - Kolkata - 4 Wins | Rajasthan - 1 Win
The pitches at the Wankhede stadium have been quite tricky. While Chennai has consistently produced low-scoring games, Mumbai has seen 200-plus totals and has also struggled to see teams struggling to reach 150 on occasions, depending vastly on which surface is being used for the game. There is also uncertainty around dew.
But one common pattern established in Wankhede is the struggle for spinners. Spinners in Wankhede have averaged 55.9 runs per wicket in comparison to 24.6 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium in IPL this season.
Hence, batsmen and fast bowlers should be the prime focus of your fantasy XI for this game. Don’t forget the power-hitters who come at the back-end of the innings as they have enjoyed their time with the bat at the Wankhede stadium.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms, we have come up with one team.
Andre Russell batted like a shadow of himself in the 2020 edition of IPL. He didn’t have a great start in 2021 either, kicking off with scores of 9 and 5. But the big Jamaican has shown hints of coming back to form. He scored 31 against Bangalore before a swashbuckling 54 from 22 balls in the vintage Andre Russell style, against Chennai. The Wankhede track is supposed to suit Russell’s strokeplay and given RR have not been the best of the bowling sides at the death, he will have a fair chance to replicate his knock against Chennai. Russell also provides a couple of overs with the ball which can lend you more points, hence shaping him the best captaincy option for this game.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Russell could score 17-25 runs and pick 0-1 wickets in this match
Nitish Rana has irrefutably been KKR’s best batsman this season so far. He started strongly, with knocks of 80 and 57. The last two innings have reaped him only 27 runs but on the batting-friendly deck of Wankhede, it is difficult to put him out of your XI.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Rana could score 24-36 runs in this match
Jos Buttler has been the missing piece in RR’s top-order. Given their team dynamics, they need Buttler to fire but the Englishman has only given glimpses so far, with a top-score of 49. Buttler is capable of winning single-handedly, an ability he has showcased on various occasions for RR. If he fires, he can help both RR and your fantasy side to score crucial points.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Buttler could score 15-23 runs in this match
The IPL 2021 has seen many uncapped Indian quicks rub shoulders with the international stars and put in top-notch performances. One such example is Rajasthan’s left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya, who from a humble background has risen to the high standards of IPL. Sakariya has picked up six wickets from four matches so far, including a couple of three-wicket hauls, carrying on his excellent form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy into the IPL. He went wicketless in the RR’s 10-wicket defeat against Bangalore but if he bowls first, he should be a certainty in your fantasy XI
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Sakariya could pick up 0-1 wickets in this match