Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer

Rajasthan Royals last won their first three games of a season back in 2015, before their two-year ban kicked in. Having started this IPL with back-to-back wins, including a record-breaking chase on Sunday, the Steve Smith-led side will believe they have enough power in their tanks to get through Kolkata Knight Riders' total of 174 today.

Let us look at the key takeaways from the first innings between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals

Jofra Archer’s extreme pace

After being criticised for bowling slower ones with the new ball in the previous two games, Jofra Archer stuck to what he does best – bowling at an extreme pace.

Archer crossed the 150km/hr barrier twice in the opening over and the slowest ball was 147.4 km/hr, making openers Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine dance on his tunes.

Archer hit the deck hard and also clocked the fastest delivery of the tournament (152.1 kph) in a fiery spell, taking two key wickets of in-form opener Shubman Gill (47 from 34 balls) and skipper Dinesh Karthik (1). The spearhead finished with figures of 4-0-18-2 and also triggered the KKR collapse.

KKR’s batting order

Gill got a start and stitched two decent partnerships upfront with Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana. Russell came in at No.5 and looked dangerous but perished to Ankit Rajpoot. If not for Morgan's composure to bat out the innings, KKR would have struggled to get past 170. Morgan’s promotion up the order and pushing Narine down can give KKR tail a better chance of swinging at the end. Knight Riders were never able to rebound strongly after Russell’s wicket and questions over Sunil Narine's form continue to persist.

Focus on Kuldeep Yadav now

Kuldeep Yadav's form has been a real concern. Kolkata Knight Riders' strike bowler till 2018, Kuldeep Yadav has averaged a wicket for 55 balls in the past two seasons. In 2019, Yadav played nine games and produced only four wickets. This season too, Kuldeep Yadav is bowler batting teams have liked targeting. However, KKR have had the back of their players. Can Kuldeep repay that faith tonight?

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Free Press Journal