Match Preview – KKR vs Titans, Indian Premier League 2023, 39th Match
Big picture: Will we witness Rinku magic again?
There isn’t a lot to talk about when talking about this game, is there? Just kidding. Where my Rinku fans at?
And in any case, both teams will want to focus on making the game as boring as possible. That sounds like a blasphemous way to build up to an IPL match, especially one that pits a side that kept defying the odds all the way to the title last year and one that has produced this year’s most outrageous result.
But here’s the thing. Both Gujarat Titans (7 games) and Kolkata Knight Riders (8) have had enough of a go at this to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are and how to play to them. In other words, their experience will help them manage difficult situations better, instead of letting them go so far that they end up needing a miracle.
Gujarat Titans: WWLWL (Last five matches, most recent first)
Kolkata Knight Riders: WLLLL
KKR’s Litton Das left the IPL on Friday to attend to a medical emergency in his family in Bangladesh.
Toss and Impact Player strategy
Kolkata has not been kind to fast bowlers, so Titans, who have barely had to use Rahul Tewatia’s legspin, might decide to give him a proper run here. They’re also likely to swap Shubman Gill for Josh Little or Alzarri Joseph when they have to bring in their Impact Player.
Gujarat Titans possible XII: 1 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Hardik Pandya (capt), 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 David Miller, 6 Abhinav Manohar, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Noor Ahmad, 11 Mohit Sharma, 12 Josh Little/ Alzarri Joseph
KKR will be pleased to see Jason Roy finding form. With Venkatesh Iyer and Suyash Sharma settling into life as Impact Subs, they aren’t short on options. They’ll want their quicks to buck up, though. With just 13 wickets at an average of 55.5 and an economy rate of 11.5, they are the worst-performing seam unit in the competition.
Kolkata Knight Riders possible XII: 1 N Jagadeesan (wk), 2 Jason Roy, 3 Venkatesh Iyer, 4 Nitish Rana (capt), 5 Rinku Singh, 6 Andre Russell, 7 David Wiese, 8 Vaibhav Arora, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Varun Chakravarthy, 12 Suyash Sharma
Who is the better T20 spinner?
Stats that matter
- Andre Russell is averaging 18 – his second-lowest in an IPL season – with five single-digit scores in eight innings. Not the best time to come up against Rashid Khan, who has dismissed him five times in 39 balls for 54 runs in T20 cricket.
- 3.6 vs 13.8. Those are Rinku Singh’s balls-per-boundary numbers against pace and spin this season. So if you’re the Titans captain, do the right thing. Don’t give him pace.
- Shubman Gill has an average of 59.2 and a strike rate of 143 against spin since IPL 2022. His batting deep into the innings might enable Titans to mitigate KKR’s mystery spin threat.
- Though right now one of them is not feeling so great. Sunil Narine has an economy rate of 8.9 in IPL 2023. Never in the history of this tournament has he been so expensive. Also, he hasn’t picked up a wicket for five matches straight. That’s another first for him in the IPL.
- Hardik Pandya has a strike rate of 102 against pace this season. This is the second-lowest among all batters who have faced at least 50 balls.
Pitch and conditions
Eden Gardens, after hosting three matches in this year’s IPL, has produced an average first-innings score of 222. It is the highest out of all the grounds on show in the tournament. So expect a few runs. Spin has offered a bit of respite, though – 21 wickets at an economy rate of 8.7 (versus 10.9 for pace) and a strike rate of 15.6, which is another season-topping metric among the grounds this IPL.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo