Before the season began, no one would have guessed that the 2 most successful teams, MI & CSK, would be among the first to be eliminated from the tournament and that RR and GT would be driving the points table. Declared as one of the weakest teams after auctions, GT have silenced every critic by being the table toppers. Skipper Hardik Pandya has led from the front in both the departments. GT have unearthed some gems in Abhinav Manohar & Yash Dayal but they did the wrong thing in dropping Sai Sudarshan for Vijay Shankar earlier in the season and later dropped Manohar for Sudarshan. They have given opportunity to TN sall rounder R sai Kishore who hasn't dissapointed so far. GT had one major chink in their armour and that was the top 3. Shubhman Gill had played 2 big knocks but went through a string of low scores. They had hit only one six in the Powerplay till the 5th game. With the inclusion of Saha, their Powerplay game has improved massively and he has notched up 212 runs at 138 sr. Game after game GT have been exceptional under pressure in chases. The trio of Tewatia, Miller and Rashid deserve a whole lot of credit.
Buttler's drop in form was inevitable and expecting the same from him for the duration of the league stage is foolish. There has been an encouraging development for RR in the last few innings when Jaiswal or Padikkal have each contributed. Padikkal has scored 218 runs in middle overs at s SR of 142 and Jaiswal has put up 191 runs in his last 5 innings. Perhaps, RR's unsung hero has been Shimron Hetmyer. He has been the leagues's best batsman in end overs. Since 2021, he has scored 343 runs at a SR of 207 and this year he has scored 210 runs at a SR of 214.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson(c & wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Ravi Ashwin, Trent Boult, Obed McCoy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna
Shubhman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade / Rahmanullah Gurbaz, David Miller, Hardik Pandya (c), Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, R Sai Kishore, Alzarri Joseph, Mohammad Shami, Yash Dayal
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Highest total: 232/2 by KKR vs MI
Lowest total: 49 all out by RCB vs KKR
Average 1st innings score: 160.2
IPL matches played: 78
Batting first won in IPL: 30
Batting second won in IPL: 47
No Result: 1
Record at Eden Gardens
Rajasthan Royals: Played 10, Won 2, Lost 7, NR 1
Head to Head
Both teams met once in the league stage and GT won by 37 runs.
Buttler v Rashid: 17/3 at 60 sr
Buttler v Joseph: 36/0 at 300 sr
Buttler v Hardik: 33/0 at 220 sr
Buttler v Dayal: 33/0 at 300 sr
Samson v Rashid: 68/0 at 95 sr
Samson v Shami: 46/1 at 177 sr
Miller v Ashwin: 56/2 at 102 sr
Miller v Chahal: 35/3 at 152 sr
Hetmyer v Rashid: 41/2 at 170 sr
Hetmyer v Shami: 23/3 at 153 sr
Hardik v Krishna: 45/1 at 195 sr
Hardik v Ashwin: 35/0 at 134 sr
Riyan v Shami: 13/2 at 130 sr
Paddikal v Lockie: 23/2 at 164 sr
Saha v Chahl: 50/2 at 141 sr
Gill v Ashwin:46/0 at 143 sr
(last 5 innings)
Key players & Fantasy Picks
Jos Buttler: Since 2018, Butler strikes at 143 in the Powerplay at an average of 50 with 933 runs. Regarded as one of the most dangerous white ball batters in the world, he had a brilliant t20 wc where he scored a scintillating 100 against SL on a slow Sharjah Pitch and carried his form in the IPL where he scored another 100 in his 2nd game of the season, a 70 odd in the game vs RCB and a quickfire 50 in the powerplay against GT, and another 2 100s against KKR & DC. He is now the orange cap holder with 629 runs and has hit 37 sixes.
Yuzvendra Chahal: He is the purple cap holder with 26 wkts at an eco of 7.8 and holds the record of most wkts by a spinner in a season. The spin duo of Ashwin & Chahal have been RR's biggest strength in the middle overs. Chahal has taken 19 wkts in the middle overs . RR have been using him wisely by bowling his 2 overs after the 14th over. He bowled brilliantly in the end overs of few games and has scalped 7 wkts.
Rashid Khan: It was about time for Rashid to show what he is capable to do with the bat. He was the stand in captain in the game against CSK and displayed his batting prowess while chasing and scored 40 off 21 balls. He again did what he has been doing in leagues like BBL and PSL all these years and smashed 31 of 11 deliveries to take GT to a memorable victory against SRH. 18 wkts at an eco of 6.9 are his stats in this season. Rashid has never finished a season with an eco of greater than 7 and became the 1st spinner to take 15 + wkts in 6 consecutive seasons. He has a good h2h record against Buttler and Padikkal.
(Fantasy rating: 8/8.5 points)
Mohammad Shami: He has taken 15+ wickets in consecutive seasons since 2019. 18 wkts at 7.8 eco are his numbers in this season.
Sanju Samson has scored 374 runs at a SR of 146.7. He has hit the most sixes against spin in this season after Andre Russell. Since 2020, Samson has scored the most runs in middle overs ( 842 ) at a SR of 154.5. After getting dropped from the t20i squad vs SA, Samson must be itching to play a match defining innings and take RR to the finals.
Prediction: Winners - RR