They are two of the most prolific batters for Team India, both possessing attractive shots in their armoury. Both make sure the spectators get their money’s worth while they bat. One a languid opening batsman, while the other a clever middle-order bat who can get the better of the best of bowlers.
The other interesting facet of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer is their leadership abilities. While Rahul led Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in prior IPLs, Iyer has enjoyed the role of captaining an IPL side with Delhi Capitals before.
This season Rahul and Iyer are leading two different teams but with contrasting results. Under Rahul’s captaincy, newbies Lucknow Super Giants are sitting pretty at the second spot in the points table, having accumulated 14 points (7 wins) from 10 games.
Iyer was specifically bought at the auction by Kolkata Knight Riders with a plan to make him the captain. KKR started well under Iyer’s leadership and racked up three wins in their first four matches, but then the team hit a roadblock and lost the next five games on the trot.
Our #SuperGiant batters hitting the nets before Match Day madness 💪🏼#AbApniBaariHai💪#IPL2022 🏆… https://t.co/5tDD52MeP5
— Lucknow Super Giants (@LucknowIPL) 1651850984000
It was only in their previous game – against Rajasthan Royals – that the Knight Riders managed to break the losing streak. At present, the Iyer-led team are in eighth spot in the table with 8 points from 10 matches.
So when LSG and KKR face each other for the first time in this year’s IPL, it will also be a clash of the tactical acumen of Rahul and Iyer at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Saturday.
A win for LSG will more or less ensure them a spot in the Playoffs, while KKR would look to remain afloat in the competition. The 2012 and 2014 IPL-winning side need to emerge triumphant in all the remaining four games to harbour any chance of entering the Playoffs.
𝘈𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘪𝘯, 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘮𝘦𝘩𝘧𝘪𝘭 𝘫𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘪𝘯… 🤝@LucknowIPL #KKRHaiTaiyaar #IPL2022 https://t.co/CGAab4P5jv
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) 1651842839000
The biggest positive for KKR this season has been the performance of Rinku Singh, who has given the team much-needed flourish in the middle-order. Iyer and Nitish Rana, at best, have been consistent without setting the tournament on fire. The big-hitting Andre Russell has had his sparks of brilliance, helping KKR win a game against Punjab Kings with an outstanding 31-ball unbeaten 70. Otherwise, the West Indian has mostly been kept quiet.
The problem area for KKR has been the woeful show by their openers. It has been a strange revolving door policy by the Knight Riders management. They started with Ajinkya Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer at the top, and the duo opened for the first five games.
Kaptan Sahab back in the nets to perfect his form 💪🏼#AbApniBaariHai💪#IPL2022 🏆 #bhaukaalmachadenge #lsg… https://t.co/cfpW2pQ4Yw
— Lucknow Super Giants (@LucknowIPL) 1651665062000
Then Aaron Finch started with Iyer in the sixth and Rahane was dropped; Finch had Sunil Narine as partner in the seventh and Iyer was dropped; then Finch was given the boot and Sam Billings opened with Narine in the eighth; in the ninth game Finch and Iyer came back into the team and both opened; lastly, in the previous game, Finch had Baba Indrajith to give company while facing the new ball and Iyer was dropped.
Lucknow, on the other hand, are playing like a well-oiled unit and have no such distinct problems, be it the batting or the bowling department.