Former Indian captain Kris Srikkanth has given his verdict on the Eliminator of the IPL 2018, saying Dinesh Karthik-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are favorite against the dynamic Jos Butler-less Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Eden Gardens on Wednesday (23 May).
He was also lavished praised on the Captain Karthik, saying the way he led the Purple troops from the front so far in the T20 event is the biggest success story of the IPL. He also said that his brilliant captaincy is the result of experience and that’s there is no substitute that he proved in the IPL 2018.
In his column for Times of India, Srikkanth wrote, “The manner in which Dinesh Karthik has rallied his troops and also led from the front, is the biggest success story of the IPL, in my opinion. His exuberance might mask the fact that the Tamil Nadu lad has been a part of the Indian team for close to 14 years. Karthik has proved there is no substitute for experience.”
He further added, “Kolkata finished a creditable third in the points tally, thanks to them discovering the near-perfect team combination. Karthik might have arrived at this by a trial and error method but that should not be taking anything away from him for backing his instincts.”
Former captain terms Karthik as the morale booster captain, saying, “Karthik is KKR’s top run-getter with 438, an average of close to 55 and a strike rate hovering at 150, tells the tale. He has taken the responsibility to guide chases. When a captain does this well, it lifts the morale of the team no end.”
He also believes that KKR has the balanced batting line-up that makes them favorite against the RR. He added, “One look at their batting order suggests, they have all the bases filled. From a rollicking opening duo to the steady hands of Karthik and Uthappa in the middle to the dashing finisher in Andre Russell, Kolkata looks a side that cannot be written off even if they are to lose a couple of early wickets.”
Commenting on Royals, Kris wrote, “It would only be stating the obvious that, Rajasthan will miss the dynamic Jos Butler and the all-round presence of Ben Stokes. They need to be on top of their game to challenge Kolkata, who looks to be in better rhythm. Playing at home gives KKR a vital advantage as well.”
Srikkanth signed off by saying, “Rajasthan would be wary of Ajinkya Rahane’s strike rate. The skipper does pull the team down with a sub-120 strike rate. Once the initial push is lost, it will become extremely difficult for the visitors to play catch up. Not one to predict T20 games, but I have to admit, Kolkata go into this one with a massive advantage.”