The seven-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings may have lifted some of the gloom in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ beleaguered camp but is not welcome news for Rajasthan Royals, who face the Brendon McCullum-led side in their must-win last league encounter, here on Wednesday.
The Shane Warne-led side have stuttered in this season’s Indian Premier League campaign and have rarely looked like the defending champions.
Injuries and the absence of some of last year’s key players have affected Royals’ progress this season. They have won six of their 13 matches with an equal number of defeats against their name.
With 13 points, they need victory against the Knight Riders to brighten their prospects of a semi-final berth, though, Rajasthan would still have to depend on other results.
Knight Riders, who have long been out of a semi-final reckoning, would love to play spoilsport and finish their campaign on a high after a disastrous run that saw them lose eight successive matches.
McCullum’s good form with the bat ought to be another piece of worrying news for Warne, who himself is struggling with a hamstring injury.
Rajasthan will depend on Graeme Smith and Yusuf Pathan to put runs on the board.
South Africa skipper Smith has had an inconsistent tournament so far and would be keen to set things right on Wednesday.
Yusuf is not a grafter. For him to deliver, the team needs to give him a platform from where he can launch his arsenal.
The bowling would once again depend on Warne to pull the strings while Munaf Patel’s performance at the start would also prove crucial.
With the monkey off their backs, a relieved Knight Riders would be looking to put in a final performance that matches their talent.
Sourav Ganguly would like to prove detractors wrong and finish on a high while McCullum and Brad Hodge would hope to maintain Monday’s tempo.