Quiet man behind the wicket Dinesh Karthik virtually holds the key to Kolkata Knight Riders’ make or break match against resurgent Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the VIVO IPL 2018 eliminator play at Eden Gardens here on May 23.
Though on papers the Shah Rukh Khan-owned KKR looked favourites for a number of reasons. Being the hosts, their cheering home crowds over 66,000, and winners of both the legs in this edition before reaching to this stage of play off keep the purple-gold brigade an advantageous position.
However, the uncontrolled weather weather condition, basically heat and moisture, dew in the evening, unpredictable pitch surface in the death overs and finally performance of the players will decide the fate of the 20-over each play.
Winners of the 2012 and 2014 editions KKR in the first two legs of the current series beat RR both in away and home plays easily, the last at Eden on May 15 by 6 wickets
in which Kuldeep Yadav took his carrier best 4/20. RR were all out at 142 in 19 overs.
Here comes the capability of the leadership. The winners of the first edition ( 2008) RR ,under the coaching of spin great Shane Warne, made 1 for 63 runs in 4.5 overs came to end at 142.
Batsman-wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik watching from behind the wickets called his spinners Sunil Narine, 23-year-old Kuldeep Yadav and West Indian great all rounder Andre Russell and the trio changed the whole gamut of play in favour of the hosts.
Replacing the two fast bowlers, including Shivam Mavi clicked well. But in the match that kept the KKR in the hut for play off stage before defeating table topper Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last play, did not notice the 32-year-old captain from Chennai DK, who has been consistent in batting.